Poland’s 18 years in the NATO
An official meeting with the NATO diplomatic corps members, with Armoured Brigade Combat Group soldiers, representatives of the NATO structures established on the territory of our country, including the Multinational Corps Northeast and the Joint Force Training Centre, took place on Monday 13 March in the Polish MOD Department of Military Foreign Affairs facilities.
The President of the Republic of Poland Mr Andrzej Duda addressed a letter to the ceremony participants, which was read by the head of the National Security Bureau, Mr Paweł Soloch:
- The development of each country directly depends on the conditions of its security. From this perspective, the 18-year-old Polish membership in NATO has definitely positive balance and, what I am deeply convinced of, it is mutually beneficial, also for our allies. The most important of these benefits are real mutual security guarantees for all signatory states of the Washington Treaty. In recent years, thanks to our joint efforts we managed to revive the implementation of the ideas underlying the establishment of the NATO, including in particular the ability to provide the collective defense. I feel satisfaction and pride that Poland played in this process an important role - wrote the President of Poland.
The Defense Minister Macierewicz stressed that the year 2016 is the first, when NATO troops are present in Poland, and that the membership of Poland in the political alliance adopted its military materialization.
Minister Macierewicz pointed out that our 18-years membership in NATO has different stages. Therefore, today in the first year of the NATO and the United States troops presence in our country we wanted to meet up to share 'two words' about our road to NATO and the future associated with it.
Minister Macierewicz recalled the achievements in the pursuit of Polish accession to NATO of the former defense minister Mr Jan Parys and the former Prime Minister Mr Jan Olszewski, whose memoirs were read during the meeting: (...) in former post-Soviet bases on the Polish territory, some tried to establish supranational and therefore out of the Polish government control (...) companies with international status. Luckily we managed to prevent this, but it was the beginning and the real reason for dismissal of my government. I think it was the price we paid, but worth to pay, for an Poland’s open path to the North Atlantic Treaty.
Minister Macierewicz stressed the awareness of Poles that a strengthened NATO presence on the Eastern flank is happening in the world deeply changing where the challenges associated with threats are unfortunately growing, instead of decreasing. But security, freedom and independence have no price. For the fact that in this case we are as NATO united, that we are in solidarity, that from Tallinn to the Black Sea we share a common opinion, that we undertake joint efforts and we share willingness to bear the costs and efforts, today at the hands of the distinguished ambassadors and generals of the whole NATO, I warmly on behalf of the government of the Republic of Poland say thank you - concluded the head of the Defense Ministry.
On behalf of NATO allies American Brigadier General Frank Tate, deputy chief of staff of the Multinational Corps Northeast, took the floor. He told about the importance of Poland’s presence in the Alliance:
- Poland has come a long way in those 18 years and in addition to being this valued member, Poland has become a leader in all these preparations to deter and counter any threat in the region. Poland has always been ready to engage in NATO initiatives - said general Tate.
- Poland led 23 nations in the Multinational Division Central-South in Iraq for more than five years. Poland was the largest Alliance contributor to ISA, taking the responsibility for Ghazni province for five years. Poland continues its commitment in Afghanistan in the Resolute Support mission. Poland is part of the international coalition against ISIS. Poland hosts the Multinational Corps Northeast, the Joint Force Training Centre, NATO Force Integration Unit. Poland has provided for long-term the rotating contingents to the multinational battalion in the framework of the enhanced presence of NATO in Latvia. Poland is part of the multinational training group in Ukraine. Poland supports NATO division in Romania. Poland continues to support NATO air policing in the Baltics and is looking at the same in the Black Sea region. Poland cares, together with its allies for the safety of the Balkan countries. Poland is a NATO SOF framework nation and only seven NATO countries have that qualification. The last year’s significant exercise conducted in Poland ANKONDA-16 was attended by over 20 countries and thousands of soldiers. The Warsaw Summit was a demonstration of civilian leadership and the NATO during the summit switched also from the assurance of its members towards the deterrence of any threats - said general Tate reminding the most important achievements of our country and Polish soldiers in the service for the Alliance.
Poland joined NATO on 12 March 1999 together with the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Read also: Allied Forces in Poland (Polish language)