President of Poland Andrzej Duda: „NATO should oblige all members to spend 3% of GDP on defence”

The full address by President of Poland marking the 25th anniversary of Poland’s accession to NATO stated in an article published on The Washington Post.

Twenty five years ago, the dream of generations of Poles came true. On 12 March 1999 in Independence, Missouri, Poland – along with the Czech Republic and Hungary – was officially admitted to the North Atlantic Alliance.

NATO enlarged to the east. Countries which just 10 years before belonged to the Soviet sphere of influence became fully-fledged members of the free West. That was the true end of the Cold War.

The final collapse of the Iron Curtain!

It was an incredibly brave, historic decision! Let us remember however, that the idea of our membership of NATO was not immediately met with universal support and understanding of some Western politicians and experts.

A tremendous amount of work was needed, which was done by Polish politicians, diplomats, the military, as well as eminent members of the Polish Community around the world, especially Polish Americans.

But I have to emphasise that the idea of Poland’s presence in the North Atlantic Alliance instantly become our common goal in Poland, regardless of political views.

It enjoyed widespread support of all political parties in Poland.

Poland’s membership of NATO is a symbol of our national unity.

The strong support of the United States was of key importance.

It did not have political colors either. We started our talks with the Republican Administration of President George Bush Senior, whereas the entire process of our accession was concluded under the Democratic Administration of President Bill Clinton. This is the case also today. The strategic Polish-American cooperation develops irrespective of who is in power, either in Poland or in the United States.

Poland is a credible and tested ally. We allocate over 4% of our GDP for the maintenance and modernisation of our Armed Forces. It is the biggest amount, percentage-wise, in the whole Alliance. Over the last 25 years we have repeatedly manifested our credibility. Also fighting shoulder to shoulder with the US Army and other armies of allied countries.

In the face of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s growing imperial aspirations, the countries that make up NATO must act boldly – just as they did 25 years ago.

We need unity, unity and more unity! In key decisions on security investments, on defense spending or on a common strategy to support Ukraine, which is defending itself against the Russian aggression.

Today, NATO is sending a clear and strong message about its growing political and military potential by welcoming Finland and Sweden as its members. This is a historic event. The Alliance is acceded by the states which had, until now, kept their neutral status for years. As a result NATO is stronger and the free world is safer.

More bold decisions are needed. In 2014, Allies pledged to raise military spending to 2% of their GDP. The war in Ukraine has made it clear that the United States is and should remain the leader when it comes to security in Europe and the world. However, the other NATO countries must also take greater responsibility for the security of the whole Alliance – through intensive modernization and strengthening of their militaries.

Therefore, I believe that it is necessary to raise the level of defense spending from 2 to 3% of GDP by all members of the Alliance! I will be convincing our Allies to do so. Both during the upcoming visit to the United States and in the months ahead of the NATO Summit in Washington in July this year. This is the best response to the threats to global security which we are facing today. There is no strong Europe without the US and NATO – just like there is no strong NATO without Europe. There was and there is no better guarantor of security than the North Atlantic Alliance.

Poland is proud that it has been part of NATO for 25 years now!

Source: president.pl

Photo: @jakub_szymczuk

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