FM says Europe can't defend itself without USA

Piotr Nowak/PAP

Poland's foreign minister said on Tuesday that the current security crisis shows that Europe cannot defend itself alone, without the United States.

Speaking at the opening of a gathering of Polish ambassadors in Warsaw, Zbigniew Rau said that American leadership in defence and strengthening the law-based international order was key to Poland and that there would be no effective solidarity-based Nato without the USA.

According to Rau, calls for EU autonomy, competition or even opposition to the US have to be seen as harmful to European security. "The current crisis clearly shows that without the United States, Europe cannot defend itself," he said.

"Poland perceives the engagement of the United States in European security as a fundamental condition of peace in Europe," the foreign minister said, adding that it was the US leadership in Nato that had decided on "rapid and effective adaptation to the Russian threat in 2016."

"It's the United States that deployed the greatest forces to Poland, in the conditions of the ongoing war in Ukraine, to strengthen the deterrence of Russia from possible attempts at drawing the countries of the eastern flank into the crisis and further escalating it," Rau said. "For that support at a difficult time we are grateful to our American allies."

He went on to say Poland was fully prepared to work closely with the US to keep building trans-Atlantic solidarity against Russian threats to Europe's peace, adding that a fairer division of the security burden is required.

"In the military dimension, the United States cannot take all the responsibility for reacting to security crises and effective deterrence and defence, which also rests on the shoulders of European allies," he said and explained that that is why Poland supports EU efforts to stimulate the building of its member states' defensive potential through new forms of military and defence-industry cooperation.