The United Kingdom is a strategic partner for Poland, even if it leaves the European Union, declared Prime Minister Beata Szydło after the plenary session of intergovernmental consultations. She added that subsequent consultations would take place in Warsaw.
Unprecedented meeting and actions to support the Polish diaspora
Prime Minister Beata Szydło thanks for two symbolic gestures of the British Prime Minister.
I am grateful that we could together lay a wreath at the monument commemorating heroic Polish airmen who dies during the World War II, fighting for the freedom of the United Kingdom, but also for the freedom of Europe, of all of us. I am also grateful that we had an opportunity to talk with the World War II veterans, whom we met there, she said.
Referring to the second gesture, the Prime Minister said:
I consider it to be an unprecedented event that the representatives and leaders of the Polish community living in the United Kingdom were invited here, to 10 Downing Street. It is extremely important for Poles who live here, for all of us who came here, but also for our compatriots. I would like to thank for appreciating Poland and Poles. Prime Minister Theresa May also took part in the meeting.
I would like to thank the British Prime Minister for help and support provided to our citizens living in the United Kingdom, said the Prime Minister referring to prompt reaction of Prime Minister May to acts of aggression against Poles. “Today we act together to make sure that Poles living in the UK are safe,” emphasized Beata Szydło.
First Polish-British intergovernmental consultations
Prime Minister Beata Szydło informed that the consultations covered such topics as economic, defence, scientific and cultural relations and matters concerning Poles living in the UK.
The talks were good and concrete. We together made plans for the future and took on joint commitments. We are aware that the British government seldom conducts such intergovernmental consultations. The more important they are for us, stressed the Prime Minister.
We have already planned subsequent talks and meetings for the coming months, said Beata Szydło.
The Prime Minister informed that the Polish-British intergovernmental consultations would be continued next year.
We will use this formula to discuss the most important issues concerning our relations, she said.
New opening in Polish-British relations
I would like to reiterate that the United Kingdom is a strategic partner for Poland, even if it leaves the European Union, declared Prime Minister Beata Szydło.
For us our relations, which see a completely new opening today, are extremely important and I deeply believe that they will be further strengthened in the coming months and years, she added.
Prime Minister Beata Szydło stated that Brexit had not been the main topic discussed during the consultations. The visit was devoted mainly to bilateral relations. The head of the Polish government also added that Theresa May had informed her about the steps taken by the UK with regard to Brexit.
The relevant negotiations will take place between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Poland will take an active part in those negotiations, said the Prime Minister.
The Polish Prime Minister said that from the point of view of Poland the very important thing was the guarantees for the Polish citizens who are living and working in the United Kingdom, but this was related to the guarantees for the British citizens who would live and work in other European Union Member States, and thus it was a shared issue.
Cooperation in numerous areas
Beata Szydło declared that Poland wanted to follow the example of the United Kingdom with respect to good practices in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. She reminded that Poland was implementing the Responsible Development Plan which uses also British models. The Polish government also wants to develop university cooperation. “We make efforts to open a Polish department at the University of Cambridge.
We want to establish regular cooperation between scientists and regular exchange of Polish students, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło.
Security is another important area of cooperation. For Poland, the important thing is the implementation of decisions made at the NATO summit in Warsaw and related to reinforcing the NATO’s Eastern Flank.
Prime Minister Beata Szydło and Prime Minister Theresa May agreed that the EU sanctions against Russia could not be removed until the Minsk agreements are implemented (to end large-scale fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in Donbas in 2015). The Polish Prime Minister added that the European Union must be determined and unanimous in its approach to the Russian Federation.
Support must be provided to Ukraine to retain it in the area of influence of the European Union not Russia, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło.
A historical event
The consultations are an important event in the history of bilateral relations. This is the first such meeting of government delegations. Moreover, intergovernmental consultations are a formula that is very seldom used by the British. Until now the formula has only been used in relations with France, reminded the Polish Prime Minister. Intergovernmental consultations were summed by at the plenary session chaired by both Prime Ministers.
During her visit to London, Prime Minister Beata Szydło was accompanied by the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defence, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of the Interior and Administration, Ministry of Science and Higher Education and Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy.