President Andrzej Duda signed the homeland defence bill into effect after it was fast-tracked through parliament and overwhelmingly approved by both houses of the country's bicameral legislature, state news agency PAP reported.
While signing the measure into law, Duda said it was the result of a massive collective effort to "map out the future of the Polish armed forces."
He added that the aim was to bolster the ability of the Polish army to defend the country against the "voracious, imperial" ambitions of Russia, its giant neighbour to the east.
Meanwhile, Poland's conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński, who is deputy prime minister in charge of security, said during the signing ceremony at the presidential palace in Warsaw on Friday that the effort was "taking on a new meaning in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine."
He added that Poland "must have a powerful army" and "be capable of effectively defending itself," public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
Jarosław Kaczyński speaks during the signing ceremony at the presidential palace in Warsaw on Friday. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara
Kaczyński, who sponsored the legislative initiative, has previously said that the new rules are designed to "create the legal basis and financial instruments for a radical expansion of Poland's armed forces in terms of both manpower and firepower."
Kaczyński, who heads Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, told reporters last year that “a country located at the external border of the European Union must have a major deterrence capability and be able to defend itself on its own for a long time.”
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has said that the measure will "lay the foundations for the development of Poland's armed forces" by opening up new sources of funding for the military and helping increase its numbers through new incentives for voluntary enlistment.
Under the law, Poland plans to set aside at least 3 percent of its GDP for defence starting next year, up from 2.2 percent in 2022, and its armed forces are expected increase to about 300,000 troops, including 250,000 career soldiers, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
The new rules are due to take effect on July 1 and replace regulations dating back to 1967, officials have said.
Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info