During his hour-long policy statement in the Sejm lower parliamentary house, Schetyna raised the issue of Poland’s role in the European Union, spoke on security issues and lamented the deterioration of relations between Warsaw and Moscow.
Speaking on security matters, Schetyna said that “for the past 25 years Poland has been safe and dynamically developing, and this is thanks to the great effort of [Polish] society as well as favourable conditions abroad”.
“I am sure that with our partners in NATO and the European Union we will be able to successfully tackle challenges, and in doing so, provide assurances for the security of the Republic,” Schetyna added.
Poland an ‘active player’ in EU reform
In his speech, Foreign Minister Schetyna underlined that “during 2015, Poland will play an active role in discussions surrounding EU reform,” and “will oppose attempts to create new divisions [within the bloc]”.
Schetyna added that the financial crisis has raised the need for structural reforms which would allow for economic growth.
“We are keen on the quick initiation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the implementation of the [EU’s] ambitious digital agenda and better integration of capital markets,” he said.
Speaking on the common currency, Schetyna said that in signing the accession treaty, Poland gave a commitment to join the euro in the future, and the pledge still stands.
“Taking this into account,” Schetyna underlined, “we are taking part in the shaping of a new architecture with the eurozone and I would like give assurances that the next steps will be taken on the basis of the Polish interest as well as the stability and the foreseeability of [the eurozone]”.
Russia relations at all-time low
Speaking on current relations with Moscow, Grzegorz Schetyna said that “I must note with sorrow a cooling of relations with Russia”.
Apart from mentioning the current Ukraine crisis, Schetyna also pointed to the recent murder of opposition politicians Boris Nemtsov, adding that the Kremlin is conducting a libellous campaign which aims to disrupt Polish media.
“I appeal to Polish newsrooms to apply moderation and common sense in airing subjects which aim to present [Poland] in a negative way, which aim to provoke an impulsive reaction or which aim to draw attention away from important matters,” Schetyna said. (jb)
Other highlights of Foreign Minister Schetyna’s policy statement:
• The EU should concentrate on eastern neighbourhood, especially Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, generally overlapping the EU’s Eastern Partnership project.
• Key challenges lie ahead in the Middle East, with Schetyna underlining that “Our response to terror directed at Poland, at Europe, must be tough and consequential so that all responsible parties are brought to justice and that religious terrorism ceases to exist”.
• On the Ukraine crisis, Schetyna said that “Poland supports international efforts to stop Russian expansion in eastern Ukraine,” although warned of a frozen conflict.
• Poland to spend PLN 130 billion by 2022 on modernisation of the military, with around 10,000 NATO soldiers – 3,000 from the US – taking part in exercises in Poland during 2015.