Poland in NATO
For almost 70 years, NATO has been the most important pillar of European security by providing a necessary link between Europe and North America in the political and defence sphere. With successive waves of enlargement, 29 countries are now members of the North Atlantic Alliance, while others actively seek accession to the Organisation.
By constantly developing military capabilities and structural flexibility, the Alliance effectively adjusts its resources and means of operation to address the changing security challenges of its members. In line with the current Strategic Concept, the Alliance has three key missions: collective defence resulting from Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, including effective deterrence; crisis management to respond to a full spectrum of challenges based on a unique set of political and military capabilities; cooperative security through a network of active partnerships with non-NATO countries; and contribution to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. Defence against hybrid threats, cybersecurity and energy security have been recently gaining prominence on NATO's agenda.
What is crucial for Poland is NATO's effective deterrence potential and military capabilities, which ensure the realisation of collective defence tasks in the face of destabilisation from the south, but particularly in the face of increasingly menacing military and hybrid threats in the east. An appropriate answer to these challenges is to improve the effectiveness of NATO's command structure, as well as the recent significant strengthening of the eastern flank, including through the implementation of the 2016 NATO summit decision which concerned the enhanced forward presence (eFP).
At the same time, Poland is engaged in allied activities outside the Treaty area. They are aimed at prevention, emergency responding and post-conflict reconstruction. Since joining NATO, we have taken part in virtually all allied operations, and Polish contingents were among the largest in the KFOR and ISAF missions, which were critical to regional stability. We are active where allied security needs that — in southern Afghanistan and Iraq or in the east, by regularly patrolling airspace over the Baltic States as part of the Air Policing mission and by taking part in a combat group in Latvia in the framework of eFP.
The Alliance's regional and global effectiveness is largely determined by the active development of political and economic stability in NATO’s neighbourhood through a network of partnerships and targeted assistance programmes. Poland is among the allies most committed to promoting reforms in partner countries, such as Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova, and advocates a continuous deepening of cooperation with Sweden and Finland. We believe that the Alliance should remain open to countries that are able to meet the established criteria and should actively support the aspiring countries in their reforms. It is also essential to facilitate cooperation with the EU, especially in the fight against hybrid threats.
For Poland, NATO membership also means a permanent strengthening of defence capabilities. As a country fulfilling the criterion of spending 2% of GDP on defence, Poland continues to improve the quality of its armed forces and makes a significant contribution to the allied collective defence and emergency responding regardless of the direction and nature of threats. This is also reflected in the location of the following NATO structures within our country: Multinational Corps North-East in Szczecin, NATO Joint Force Training Centre in Bydgoszcz, Command of 3rd NATO Signal Battalion in Bydgoszcz, NATO Military Police Centre of Excellence in Bydgoszcz, Counter Intelligence Centre of Excellence in Krakow, Command of the Multinational Division North East in Elblag.