Minister Witold Waszczykowski for The Irish Times: Russia is playing a geopolitical game with us

In an interview with the opinion-making daily The Irish Times, Poland's top diplomat talked about Polish-Irish collaboration, the European Union, security issues, Russia's policy, and the forthcoming NATO summit in Warsaw.

In the context of the NATO summit in Poland, Minister Waszczykowski said that it was key to increase the Alliance's presence on its eastern flank. According to Minister Waszczykowski, such arrangements made by the NATO countries at the summit would have two major consequences: first, they would eliminate fears that the states that joined NATO in 1999 were second-class members; second, they would send a clear signal to Moscow about its policy.  Minister Waszczykowski said that former Warsaw Pact countries, remembering Russia's earlier involvement in the Georgian and Ukrainian crises, were prepared for different scenarios. "We are pointing at this imperialistic behaviour of Russia and trying to persuade our friends in the West that Russia is playing a geopolitical game with us," emphasised Minister Waszczykowski. "We have to be ready and prepared to play it," he added.

Polish-Irish cooperation was an important topic of the interview. The minister recalled that Poland and Ireland share many good experiences. This year marks 40 years of diplomatic relations, while next week will see the start of the 2nd edition of PolskaÉire, a Polish-Irish festival. The Poles and Polish families in Ireland are a strong link between both countries. Poland wants to encourage emigrants to return to their home country with the message that "opportunities are waiting for you and we have committed ourselves to creating more."
Referring to the referendum in the UK, Minister Witold Waszczykowski said he hoped the British would vote to remain in the Union, with the UK being Poland's ally in its view of European integration. "We in Central Europe prefer a Union of freedoms, of democracies, of equal cooperation, and not an ever closer Union," said the minister. In this context, Minister Waszczykowski described as strange the European Commission's proposal to fine member states EUR 250,000 for each refugee they refuse to accept.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Minister Witold Waszczykowski dismissed accusations that the government's actions were aimed at undermining the rule of law in Poland. He underscored that the ongoing dispute was nothing unusual in a democracy. He also said that it would take time for the government to solve the problem in a way ensuring a compromise and balance of powers between the Constitutional Tribunal and Parliament in law making. At the same time, Minister Witold Waszczykowski dismissed as unfounded allegations that the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, was pushing Poland down a nationalist and authoritarian path.
Source: The Irish Times