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Poland to get EUR 200 mln from EU for defence policy: PM

24.03.2023 06:00
The Polish prime minister has said his country has secured a further EUR 200 million from the European Union for defence expenditures amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Mateusz Morawiecki speaks to reporters in Brussels on Thursday night.
Mateusz Morawiecki speaks to reporters in Brussels on Thursday night.PAP/Andrzej Lange

Mateusz Morawiecki made the announcement after the first day of talks at an EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

The Polish prime minister told the media on Thursday night that one of the main topics of discussion had been the EU’s European Peace Facility (ECF). 

He said: “It is a fund aimed to subsidise arms purchases, which will then be used to defend Ukraine. I have been pushing for this fund to be substantially larger.”

Morawiecki explained that “Poland has provided some of its military equipment, mainly older, post-Soviet equipment, to Ukraine.”

He added: “We are replenishing our stocks by buying excellent Western weapons, as well as domestic military equipment, such as the Krab self-propelled gun howitzers and Rosomak artillery reconnaissance vehicles.”

The prime minister said that domestic military production was being partly financed by the ECF, with Poland having so far received some PLN 200 million (EUR 43 million) for the purpose.   

Morawiecki announced: “We have excellent news. Within two to three weeks, the EU will release a further EUR 200 million for Poland, which we’ll allocate for defence policy.”  

At least Ukrainian 16,000 children abducted by Russia: Polish PM

Morawiecki also told reporters: “We talked about the abducted Ukrainian children. Poland works with the European Commission in this matter, helping Ukraine to trace them. At least 16,000 children are said to have been abducted.”

He added that all EU countries “thanked Poland for playing a leading role in this extremely important task.”

Morawiecki said he and fellow EU leaders discussed the issue of Russia’s abduction of Ukrainian children during a working lunch with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. 

He stressed: “The kidnapping of children, the abduction of children, the attempts to denationalise children resemble the worst practices of Nazi Germany during World War II.” 

'Deporting children is a war crime': EU's von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference in Brussels that Russia’s abduction of Ukrainian children “is a horrible reminder of the darkest times of our history.”

Von der Leyen added: “This is a war crime. We know today of 16,200 children that have been deported. Only 300 have returned so far. These criminal actions completely justify the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court.”

The EU executive chief stated: “In this field, in partnership with the Ukrainians, Prime Minister Morawiecki and I have launched an initiative aiming at bringing back these children that have been abducted by Russia.”

She announced that the European Commission and Poland would “organise a conference” on the issue and undertake “very hard work” to “pull together international pressure to take all possible measures to establish the whereabouts of these children.”

Von der Leyen told reporters that the EU executive and Poland also intended “to assist UN bodies and the relevant international organisations in obtaining better and more complete information on the children who were deported to Russia,” including “the children who were later adopted or transferred to Russian foster families.”

Sanctions against Belarus, competitiveness, migration

Meanwhile, Morawiecki said that the EU summit also explored other issues of importance to Poland, including sanctions against Russia’s close ally Belarus, the EU’s single market and migration policy. 

He told reporters: “I also referred to the situation in Belarus. It cannot serve as a mechanism to bypass sanctions [against Russia]. Everyone agreed on this. We are sealing sanctions. We also talked about [Belarusian leader Alexander] Lukashenko's brutal practices against political prisoners.”

Morawiecki said: “We are unequivocally in favour of completing the architecture of the single market with the freedom to provide services. This is an enormous potential for increasing the competitiveness of the entire EU.”

He added: "Regarding migration policy, Poland advocates for the protection of the EU's external borders and for member states to decide who can enter our territory. Something that five years ago was the voice of a minority, today is definitely the voice of the mainstream.”

Friday is day 394 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, ec.europa.eu