Government plans to enlarge army

Poland plans to increase the size of its armed forces to 250,000 through a new national defence act that was unveiled on Tuesday.

The "defence of the fatherland act," which was presented at a press conference hosted by Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland's defence minister, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, aims to double the size of nation's armed forces.

According to Nato, Poland currently has 99,000 people under arms in the army, navy and air force.

"A country on the external EU and Nato frontier must be a serious deterrent and have the ability to defend itself alone for an extended period of time, if necessary... because the mechanism that fully activates Nato's forces... takes quite some time," Kaczynski said.

"We definitely reject the fashionable idea that is common today, according to which an army should be small, but very well armed," he added. "It should be as large and as well armed as possible, then it has this deterrent power."

To increase the size, a new form of voluntary service will be introduced. Blaszczak said it will include 28 days of basic training and an 11-month service period during which volunteers will undergo specialist training.

He added that soldiers who complete the tour of service will be able to enter the professional forces.

Besides voluntary service, the new law introduces a new cyber-defence force, a new rank, stricter anti-corruption regulations and new military financing mechanisms.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki explained that it was necessary to pass the new law due to the threat which appeared on the eastern border.

"The only appropriate response to this is security enhancement... which should first of all be approached by strengthening our armed forces and armaments," Morawiecki said

He also said that the Polish government was in very close contact with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. "I, too, at the European Council, strongly support all ideas of creating European solutions in cooperation with Nato," he said.