The eastern flank of NATO is the first line of the Alliance
- NATO's eastern flank countries are always ready to help our allies. We are an inseparable part of NATO and nobody can imagine NATO without us - said Mariusz Błaszczak, the minister of national defence during the meeting of defence ministers of the B9 countries.
On April 4 and 5, Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister of National Defence, chairs in Warsaw the meeting of defence ministers in the Bucharest Ninth (B9) format. Before the talks began, the ministers jointly planted the ash trees in the "Avenue of NATO" in the Warsaw Citadel. A plaque commemorating this meeting was also placed.
NATO defence ministers from NATO's eastern flanks countries: Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria came to Warsaw.
- NATO's eastern flank countries have been particularly affected by history in the 20th century, we have experienced the tragedy of totalitarianism, deprivation of liberty and the ability to decide about oneself. The fact that we meet here today in such a group, shows how unifying is the historical experience - recalled Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
The second meeting of defence ministers of the Bucharest Ninth was launched in Warsaw. They will discuss the possibilities of joint contribution to the improvement of allied deterrence and defence, in accordance with the 360 degree principle, that is on all strategic directions. The talks will also concern planning areas and the chain of command in our region, providing forces of adequate readiness, as well as support for Alliance partners.
- 70 years of the North Atlantic Alliance, 20 and 15 years of our membership shows how important cooperation is. Working together makes sense. Unity and political and military cooperation will help to defend against threats - said the head of the National Defence Ministry, referring to the anniversary of NATO and Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary joining the Alliance in 1999 and the next NATO enlargement in 2009 by seven countries, including the first former Soviet republics .
Minister Mariusz Blaszczak stressed that the B9 countries have become states without which no one can imagine the North Atlantic Alliance anymore.
- We are among the leaders. We are creating NATO, he stressed.
During the working sessions, the ministers will also discuss the possibilities of cooperation under new EU initiatives, such as PESCO, the European Defence Fund, and military mobility.
The opening of the meeting fell on a symbolic day - April 4 - commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Alliance.
Bucharest Nine (B9) is a Polish-Romanian initiative serving the coordination of positions and the exchange of views of the region's countries in the field of security. Consultations in this group were inaugurated in Warsaw in 2014.