Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recognised the intergovernmental consultation as very fruitful. He stressed that despite the fact that Great Britain had decided to leave the European Union, both countries clearly see common fields for action and mutual interests. The head of Government pointed out that although Great Britain had decided to take that step, it did not leave Europe and would like to have the most extensive possible relations with Europe in the sphere of the defence, economic, financial policies as well as in cooperation in the field of education and home affairs.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stressed that in the area of Brexit the Polish Government sought to provide the British partners with the quick mode of arrangements that would allow Great Britain to enter its transition period and then maintain existing cooperation at the highest possible level.
Prime Minister Theresa May said that she had assured Mateusz Morawiecki that Great Britain wanted to cooperate with Poland and with other EU Member States so as to defend common values and interests.
We are connected with Poland by means of the historical ties of cooperation, which will survive the withdrawal of Great Britain from the EU – added the British Prime minister.
Before the conference, a ceremony was held to sign the Polish-British treaty on cooperation in the field of defence and security. Prime Minister May informed that the document defined a framework for cooperation in the field of defence, information exchange, technologies, joint exercises and investment. This is – as she highlighted – the second treaty of this kind, which Great Britain signed with a European state, which, according to the British Prime Minister, is a great proof of how close the bilateral relations between our countries are.
Security and home affairs
First, we discussed the issues of defence. We are glad that Great Britain would cooperate with us within NATO, which is becoming the more and more important political platform, not just military one. We also exchanged very coherent comments on cooperation of the UN Security Council – said the President of the Council of Ministers.
He reminded that thanks to the Government’s efforts, as of January 2018 Poland would become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the years 2018-2019. As he added, together with the British Head of Government, he had discussed permanent structural cooperation in the field of the common defence policy aimed at increasing security in Europe and all over the world.
In the field of home affairs, we are also on very similar wavelength: on the refugee issues, so as to differentiate workers migrating for work from outside Europe to the EU and on the issue of on-site assistance services. Our opinions were very similar – said the Prime Minister.
In the field of economic cooperation, it is difficult to find closer partners. For Poland, Great Britain is a very important trading partner to which we export many of our goods. It is the power in the field of exporting of services and it is obvious that it would like to maintain this status. We believe that the freedom of providing services in the areas such as, inter alia, transport, logistics, construction, financial, consulting services and cooperation within it should be strengthened in the coming years – declared Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
The Head of Government informed that the exchange of views had also applied to issues such as the directive on the posting of workers. As he stressed, he was pleased that in that area the views of both countries were not divergent and even fairly convergent.
The talks also mentioned the importance of cooperation in the field of energy and concerning the third energy package, i.e. the gas directive. They also discussed economic and financial cooperation in the area of small and medium-sized enterprises.
These were very important areas where we also see a very high convergence – said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Poles in Great Britain
The President of the Council of Ministers highlighted that the protection of the interests of the Polish citizens who had left for Great Britain was our responsibility.
Care for the Polish citizens who decided to go to Great Britain, temporarily or permanently, is our responsibility – stressed Mateusz Morawiecki. As he said, in that regard Poland and Great Britain
are very close to reaching a compromise.
The Head of the British Government assured the Poles living in the British Isles that they were a very important part of the society.
We want them to stay in Great Britain, therefore, we worked so hard to reach an agreement with the EU so that we are able to guarantee the rights of the EU citizens living in Great Britain – said Theresa May.
However, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki admitted that he perceived the issue of the Poles in the British Isles differently than Prime Minister May.
The Prime Minister – in some sense I am deeply grateful for that – said that she would like this million of Polish citizens to stay in Great Britain. I can say that I would like this million of Polish citizens to return to Poland – he said.
Here, we are certainly slightly different in our views – added Mateusz Morawiecki.
Second Polish-British intergovernmental consultation
The consultation between the Governments of Poland and Great Britain was the second in the history of the bilateral relationships. On 28 November 2016, the first meeting of this kind, chaired by Prime Minister Beata Szydło and Theresa May was held in London. This was an important event because the intergovernmental consultation is a formula which the British use very rarely. Previously, this format was used by Great Britain only in relations with France.