Opposition party presents amended foreign policy

Rebuilding Poland's relations within the EU, a return to a partnership relationship with the US and an effective eastern policy are the three pillars of a new 'Safe Poland' doctrine presented by the Civic Platform (PO)'s leadership on Saturday.

The pillars of 'Safe Poland' were presented at a Warsaw conference by PO leader Borys Budka and former Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski MEP, who were also sharply critical of the foreign policy of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and President Andrzej Duda.

Budka said Poland had not been so isolated internationally since the times of the partitions. "[PiS party leader Jarosław - PAP] Kaczyński has cut the tongue out of Polish diplomacy and killed Polish foreign policy," he said, asking whether anyone in Europe knew the name of the current foreign minister or that of his predecessor. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin was massing troops in the east and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was provoking Poland daily and yet the country was in no position to effectively respond as it had disappeared from international politics.

The PO leader went on to announce his party would end the conflict with the EU and build relations with partners from the bloc, based on trust, cooperation and meeting the aims of sustainable development. "We will tackle the economic effects of the pandemic, deepening inequality and extreme poverty," Budka said. "Jointly we will implement the European Green Deal. Further European integration will be one of the guarantors of our security."

He also gave his assurance of a return to "partnership relations" with the US Biden administration, the basis of which would be a Polish-American summit in Warsaw with the participation of business and NGO representatives. "Never again will the US president bypass the Polish capital by choosing neighbouring countries," he said. "The United States will be a strategic partner for Poland."

He also promised a return to an "effective and causative eastern policy."

"Poland will again fulfill an expert role in Nato and the European Union for issues of the eastern neighbourhood," Budka said. "We will tighten cooperation with Ukraine with a view to accelerating its internal modernization and strengthening ties with the West. The citizens of Belarus will always be able to count on our support in striving for democratic change in their country. We will work out and consistently implement solutions disenabling the Russian Federation from influencing Polish internal politics."

Radosław Sikorski developed Budka's points, explaining that Poland should enter the "group holding power in the European Union."

"The ruling right intimidates the EU and claims it is a threat to its sovereignty," Sikorski said. "Yes, we connect some sovereignty with other European states and in return we receive greater security and greater influence on the international arena."

"A better integrated EU is not a threat to our independence and security - it is a tool for their defence, the best we have," he continued. The MEP went on to say another goal would be to co-direct the EU's eastern policy. "Peace and economic development to the east of our borders means greater security for Poland," he said. "Once Poland managed to persuade the whole EU towards the Eastern Partnership project, thanks to which Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia extricate themselves from their post-Soviet heritage and integrate with the EU."

The third aim, Sikorski said, is accession to the G20, grouping the world's leading economies. "We are already the 20th economy in the world," he said. "Entry to the group of the 10 percent most powerful countries on the planet would be a dream come true for generations of Poles of Poland as a country in the global first league."

"After removing PiS from power, firstly we will eliminate all breaches of the rule of law and European law, pointed out to the United Right by the Council of Europe," Sikorski said. "Secondly, we will become a leader in creating the European defence project, we will strive for greater EU funds for defence and the creation of a European legion - first made up of volunteers of a unit subservient to EU institutions."

Sikorski went on to propose a rebuilding of the significance of the Weimar Triangle, grouping Poland, France and Germany, and being an active member of the G5 group. "In this way we will regain real influence over the direction of the EU's development," he explained.

He also said the 22 countries already belonging to the European Prosecutor, would be joined, i.e. institutions involved in tracking down financial fraudsters concerning EU and cross-border funds. In addition, he said Poland would become an advocate of cooperation between the EU and countries of the Eastern Partnership, and leading those countries to the bloc.

He also said a Solidarity Prize, instigated by the former PO-Polish People's Party (PSL) government, would be revived and awarded for outstanding activities for the protection of democracy and civil freedoms in authoritarian countries. He said the constitutional role of the foreign minister as coordinator of foreign policy would be restored, returning professionalism to Polish diplomacy.