May 26th, 2024

With war in Ukraine on its border, Poland should be among countries setting EU agenda, minister says

By Vanessa Gera, The Associated Press on April 25, 2024.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, shakes hands with Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of NATO at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, April 4, 2024. NATO marked on Thursday 75 years of collective defense across Europe and North America, with its top diplomats vowing to stay the course in Ukraine as better armed Russian troops assert control on the battlefield. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland’s Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski told parliament on Thursday that the government wants to return to the group of countries which sets the agenda of the European Union.

Sikorski was describing the new direction of the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, explaining to a world audience and those at home how the new priorities have changed.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski is to give a speech to parliament on Thursday in which he will lay out the government’s vision at a historically crucial moment with war across the border in Ukraine.

Sikorski will lay out the priorities of the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk as it seeks to show leadership in Europe with growing fears that Russian aggression will not stop in Ukraine.

Sikorski’s speech is aimed at both the world and the domestic audience in the nation of 38 million people located along a geopolitical fault line. Poland, a member of NATO and the European Union, is on the eastern flank of both and shares borders with Russia and Belarus in addition to Ukraine. It is a key hub for Western weapons going to Ukraine.

Sikorski is seeking to underline how Poland’s priorities changed after Tusk’s government replaced a national conservative party, Law and Justice, in respect to rule of law and international relations, his ministry said ahead of the speech.

Law and Justice led Poland from 2015 to 2023, and while it stressed ties with the United States, it had a conflicted stance toward the European Union, which it accused of seeking to erode the powers of individual nations, and with Germany, which invaded and occupied Poland during World War II.

Sikorski is to stress that Warsaw wants strong ties with both Washington and Brussels, and that being a leader in EU also makes it a more valuable partner to the United States. Sikorski will also stress the importance of friendship with Germany.

The ministry said the speech will underline the importance of this moment in history and stress how different the foreign policy of Poland is after its change in government.

It will stress the importance that Warsaw puts on helping Ukraine and call for Russia to join the Western family of nations.

It’s a vision largely aligned with the views of French President Emmanuel Macron. Criticized earlier in the war by Poland and the Baltic states for what was seen as seeking to appease Russia, Macron in recent months has hardened his stance toward Moscow.

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