The North Atlantic Alliance system is based on mutual solidarity
- The purpose of our meetings was to prepare positions for heads of state and heads of government for the December summit in London. Essential issues for Poland are issues related to NATO's eastern flank, and thus to strengthen NATO's readiness to oppose all forms of attack on our countries. We also talked about the financial effort – burden sharing, and thus the financial contribution of individual countries in terms of defence - said Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister of National Defence after the meetings of NATO defence ministers at the Alliance Headquarters in Brussels.
On Friday, October 25, the head of the Ministry of National Defence participated in the meeting of NATO defence ministers. Agreeing on key issues ahead of the upcoming Alliance Summit in London, cooperation between NATO member states in Afghanistan and the future of the Resolute Support mission in that country, strengthening deterrence and defence, and sharing costs and burdens arising from current NATO tasks, were the main topics of the two-day meeting of the North Atlantic Council.
Referring to topics related to defence spending, Minister Mariusz Błaszczak pointed out that Poland belongs to a group of eight countries that spend 2% of GDP or more on defence. - Poland belongs to the elite in NATO. In addition, it is worth emphasizing that Poland spends over 20% of its defence budget on the purchase of modern equipment. This year it will be over 23%, in the draft budget for next year it will be above 26%.
As the minister pointed out, the investment in modern equipment for the Polish Armed Forces is an investment in the security of Poland, but also in the security of the entire eastern flank of NATO.
During the meeting, a road map on breakthrough defence technologies, adaptation of the rapid response forces (NRF) to current challenges and preparation of the concept of deterrence and defence for the European region were agreed. The minister informed that among the topics discussed were those related to the initiative 4x30.
- We know what we can do. We work together - and in this formula, I am sure, we can be and we are successful. Other formulas are always subject to some uncertainty. (...) We assume solidarity. We are active, which implies that our partners also support us. The North Atlantic Alliance system is based on mutual solidarity - emphasized Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
The topic of one of the North Atlantic Council working sessions in which Defence Minister Błaszczak took part was the security situation in Afghanistan and the future of the NATO Resolute Support Mission in that country. Alliance’s partners participating in this mission also took part in the session. Before the meeting of the NATO defence ministers, the head of the Ministry of National Defence held a conversation with Nicolas Kay, NATO High Representative in Afghanistan, who presented in detail the progress of the peace process in that country. As the head of the Ministry of National Defence pointed out, all the ministers agreed that the troops entered together Afghanistan and together would leave Afghanistan, if appropriate conditions were created.
Issues of defence cooperation within NATO were discussed by the head of the Polish Ministry of Defence in bilateral talks on the margins of the North Atlantic Council sessions. He talked with US Secretary of Defence Mark T. Esper about further strengthening cooperation in the field of defence in the framework of the Alliance, including modernization projects implemented in the Polish Armed Forces. Defence policy was also the subject of talks with the Minister of Defence of Lithuania Raimundas Karoblis, as well as with the Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili. Ministers discussed the security situation in Georgia. In Brussels, the head of the Ministry of National Defence also met the Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist, with whom he raised the issues of modernization of the armed forces as part of cooperation between the two countries.
Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak also took part in talks of defence ministers in the QUINT formula, i.e. five countries involved in supporting Ukraine: Great Britain, USA, Canada, Poland and Lithuania. The ministers listen to the briefing and opinion of the Minister of Defence of Ukraine Andriy Zahorodniuk about security situation in his country and analyzed further possible supportive actions for Ukraine.
Tomasz Szatkowski, a permanent Polish representative to NATO, also took part in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council. On October 24, Polish delegation presented details of the proposal to create a system of efficient information exchange in the field of strategic communication. The initiative was proposed by the Minister of National Defence in September this year during the NATO expert conference on strategic communication in Warsaw. At the time, Minister Mariusz Błaszczak appealed to the Allies to include in collective defence the active counteracting of disinformation, fake news and hostile narrative. The Polish proposal assumes the creation of a network of strategic communication experts and thus a platform for the exchange of information between individual national defence ministries and NATO headquarters.