No ‘pan-European order’ present: Polish Defense Minister

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (C) headed the meeting the the Polish lower House. Photo: PAP/Adam Guz WŁAS PAP

Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak took the floor during the third day of the NATO Parliamentary Summit in Warsaw.

In the absence of a pan-European order, conventional threats still require the attention of military planners, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has said.

During his speech, he added that, despite numerous efforts, no “pan-European order” based on cooperation of different countries has been formed so far, mostly due to the attitude adopted by Russia. “Following the collapse of the USSR, only for a moment was there a glimmer of hope that Russia would follow the path of democratic reform,” Mr Błaszczak said, adding that the last ten years dashed all those hopes completely. “Russia has proved that it is prepared to reshape national boundaries by force, violating the sovereignty and integrity of various states,” the minister said.

He added that while Western European democracies “were getting rid” of their tanks, Russia continued to modernize and expand its military capacity. As a result, despite technological supremacy of NATO forces, it is Russia which is more prepared to conduct military operations in the classical sense.

The Polish Defence Minister went on to discuss possible countermeasures, starting with the need to improve NATO’s current command structure in order to enhance the deterrence and defence capabilities of the Alliance. He also added that more combat forces are needed on the ground, as are more detailed defence plans.

In addition to the Russian threat, Mr Błaszczak also mentioned the dangers posed by the rise of terrorism “rooted in radical Islam”, saying that combating terrorism must begin in countries such as Afghanistan or Iraq, which have become a breeding ground for radicals.

Mr Błaszczak stressed Poland’s readiness to participate in NATO’s operations, adding that the country now has built solid foundations for the long-term funding of its armed forces. He outlined plans for increasing Poland’s defence spending beyond the mandatory 2 percent of the GDP, promising that in 2030, that figure would reach 2.5 percent.