Poland for strong EU - FM

Poland is for a strong European Union "capable of quickly reacting to contemporary challenges," including to the coronavirus epidemic crisis, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has told the Spanish ABC daily.

The minister, noting that according to polls Poland's society is among the most pro-EU in the Old Continent, pointed out that this attitude does not deprive Poles of the right to critical remarks on some European issues.

"We believe that the EU should be closer to the citizens and therefore the role of national parliaments should be strengthened. We also support the single market and an ambitious EU budget," Czaputowicz said in the interview published by ABC on Sunday.

The minister also said that Poland expects EU authorities to quickly adopt an "ambitious plan" for rebuilding the EU after the crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic, but added that such a programme must not weaken the EU agricultural and cohesion policy.

The Polish FM pointed out that as part of measures to be taken to overcome the crisis, the EU cannot forget its poorest member countries "which do not have sufficient resources" to overcome current problems. He stressed that Poland does not agree for the struggle with the crisis to take place at the expense of the weakest EU members.

Czaputowicz said that thanks to a rapid introduction of virus-related restrictions and measures protecting its economy Poland should have the smallest among EU members GDP decline in 2020.

Speaking on security matters, Czaputowicz said that Poland cares about the EU's security, its close relations with NATO and the maintaining of strategic transatlantic ties with the US. He added that Poland's drive to secure greater presence of US troops would also contribute to the security of the entire European Union.

In Czaputowicz's opinion, the North Atlantic Alliance should remain a "military operational structure" that coordinates the defence of member states in an effective manner. He also added that Poland hopes that European allies will increase their defence spending.