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Poland’s interests secured as Brexit looms: PM


Poland has effectively secured its interests in the European Union’s ongoing exit negotiations with Britain, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said.

He was speaking after EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Friday agreed to move Brexit talks on to the next stage.

Returning from the EU summit in Brussels, Morawiecki told journalists on Friday that arrangements made by EU leaders in the Belgian capital regarding Brexit were in Poland’s favour. He added that Poland’s main concern was to ensure continued rights for Polish citizens in the UK, particularly in terms of social policy.

Morawiecki also said that he had spoken to British Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the summit on Thursday.

May recently said that the UK was “building a strategic partnership with Poland … that will outlast our exit” from the European Union.

She also told Poland’s PAP news agency that ensuring EU citizens’ rights in the UK and UK citizens’ rights in the EU was her “first priority.”

“The one million Polish citizens and 30,000 Polish businesses who have made a home in the UK have made a huge economic, social and cultural contribution to the fabric of our country… No EU citizen legally living in the UK needs to worry,” she said.

‘Little green light of hope’ on migration

Giving an impromptu news conference on board a plane bound for Warsaw, Morawiecki said another takeaway from the Brussels summit was that Poland’s voice on migration issues was beginning to be heard more clearly.

He added he was bringing “a little green light of hope” from Brussels when it comes to how the migration problem can be resolved.

Ahead of the Brussels meeting of EU leaders, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic vowed to contribute some EUR 9 million each to support Italy in projects aiming at stopping illegal migration from Libya.

PESCO, sanctions on Russia, rule of law

Morawiecki voiced satisfaction that the Brussels summit had formally launched the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), a landmark defence pact that aims to boost military cooperation within the bloc. He added that Poland was interested in strengthening the EU’s defensive capacity “in full agreement with NATO” because he said the Western military alliance was Poland’s primary security guarantor.

Morawiecki also said he welcomed EU leaders’ decision to greenlight a plan to extend economic sanctions against Russia for another six months over Moscow’s aggressive actions in Ukraine.

He said: “With the exception of a few smaller countries in southern Europe, everybody understands that sanctions against Russia must be extended because they are not only an element of a policy of pressure on Russia but also a symbol that the EU does not accept the annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine.”

While in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, Morawiecki held talks with officials including Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday they would support the European Commission if it takes the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7.1 against Poland and sends a warning to Warsaw amid concerns over the rule of law.

The two-day EU summit in Brussels marked Morawiecki’s first foreign trip as prime minister.

His conservative Cabinet gained a vote of confidence in Poland’s parliament late on Tuesday.

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