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Poland’s voice ‘increasingly heard’ in EU: gov’t minister

21.03.2023 23:45
A Polish government minister has said that his country’s voice is "being increasingly heard” in the European Union, following Poland’s warnings about Russia that have been borne out by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Polands Minister for European Affairs Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk (centre) attends a meeting of the EUs General Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.
Poland's Minister for European Affairs Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk (centre) attends a meeting of the EU's General Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.Twitter/Poland in the EU

Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, who is Poland’s European affairs minister, made the remark after meeting his EU counterparts at the General Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The meeting focused on preparations for a two-day EU summit that kicks off on Thursday, according to officials. 

The Polish minister for European affairs told reporters: “We are pleased that the EU’s stance is increasingly often identical to the Polish stance.”

Szynkowski vel Sęk added: “This is in contrast to the situation a few years ago, when we were critical of the conclusions being adopted at European Council meetings and would seek to blunt their message, which was unfavourable from our point of view.”

‘We were proved right

He said: “We are part of a coalition of countries in which the Polish voice is strong and it is being heard. This is the fundamental change that has occurred over the past dozen months or so.”

Szynkowski vel Sęk told reporters that “Poland was the country that warned others about potential Russian aggression, a warning that sadly wasn’t heeded at the time, and we were proved right later.” 

Poland’s voice 'increasingly heard in EU’  

He said: “Thanks to this, our voice is being increasingly heard in Europe. This is also evident at European Council meetings. Recently, Poland has often been setting the tone of the discussion among EU member states.”

Szynkowski vel Sęk briefed reporters on the key points that Poland would raise at this week’s EU summit. 

Financial assistance for countries housing refugees from Ukraine

He said: “Poland has been able to successfully manage the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. More than 10 million refugees came to our country, of whom some 1.5 million have stayed in Poland.” 

He added: “In the process, we have incurred big costs and we expect European institutions to be more proactive, both in terms of the flexibility of the legal framework and in terms of the extent to which they co-fund these costs.”          

“The European Commission should present concrete proposals in this matter,” Szynkowski vel Sęk also said.

Additional funding for European Peace Facility

Meanwhile, Poland has backed a proposed EUR 3.5 billion funding boost for the European Peace Facility (EPF), which finances the training of Ukrainian troops, among other programmes, the PAP news agency reported.

Szynkowski vel Sęk said: “Not everyone is convinced, but we hope that the summit will bring an agreement on a sum in this region.”

Longer extensions to sanctions on Russia

Moreover, Poland is set to renew its proposal that sanctions against Russia be subject to one-year extensions, rather than sixth-month ones, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.   

Such a move would require unanimity, but Hungary has so far said no, according to IAR.

Szynkowski vel Sęk told reporters: “We’ll definitely be lobbying our Hungarian partners in this matter. I believe there is a chance that time will reveal a change and an evolution in the Hungarian stance on this issue.”

Removing barriers to EU single market  

EU leaders are also set to discuss competitiveness, the single market and the economy, including “the removal of barriers in the single market, which are still preventing the potential of EU member states from being developed,” according to Szynkowski vel Sęk,

He said: “This is an important demand for Poland and it will be discussed during the European Council as well.”     

Tuesday was day 391 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, polskieradio24.pl