Third Polish-British Belvedere Forum
“We enjoy excellent relations in many areas, but we want to make this bond even better, stronger, and more all-encompassing,” said Deputy Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk at the third Polish-British Belvedere Forum in Warsaw.
This year’s Forum took place on 6 – 7 March 2019 at the Royal Castle under the slogan “Issues that Matter. The next generation of UK-PL partnership.” The event brought together more than 300 guests, and its opening ceremony was also attended by the co-chairmen of the Forum’s Steering Committee, Professor Zdzisław Krasnodębski and Sir Malcolm Rifkind.
The deputy chief of Poland’s diplomacy said he was confident that the two countries would continue to cooperate on numerous items from the political and economic agenda, irrespective of the future shape of EU-UK relations. “Poland has faith in the strategic dialogue with the United Kingdom, and our relations go far beyond the European Union,” stressed Deputy Minister Szynkowski vel Sęk. “Brexit is not going to affect the special bond [between Poland and Great Britain], which is based on history and people to people contacts, which the Forum supports,” he added.
The participants of the third Belvedere Forum discussed social, economic, and political issues, such as the impact of Brexit and changes inside the EU on the Polish-British partnership, energy and environmental protection. Other topics included challenges stemming from the technological progress in information. The meeting also focused on the issue of national identity, with the participants deliberating on the existence of the phenomenon of double identity, its manifestations and impact on social life.
During the meeting, the first Belvedere Award for exceptional contribution to Polish-British cooperation was presented. This year’s laureate is Professor Norman Davies, who was selected in an open voting among the participants of the 3rd Belvedere Forum.
At the end of the conference, the moderators of individual panel sessions put forward possible topics and initiatives to be considered by both governments. It was also announced that two internationally renowned think tanks will be charged with the organization of future editions of the Belvedere Forum: the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London (Chatham House).
The initiative to organize annual Forums was launched by Polish and British governments during the first ever Polish-British intergovernmental consultations in London in November 2016. The first Forum met on 8-9 March 2017 at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw, and the second meeting was held in London in February 2018. The Steering Committee, which includes Polish and British members of different walks of social life involved in bilateral cooperation, is tasked with programme and substantive matters. The Forum’s goal is to give a new impetus to cooperation between non-governmental, expert and Polish community activists with a view to strengthening relations between societies in Poland and the UK.
MFA Press Office
Fot. Gabriel Piętka / MFA