Foreign minister sums up year, maps future tasks

Foreign minister sums up year, maps future tasks

Negotiations around the 2014-2020 EU budget were the toughest diplomatic challenge for Poland in recent months, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said Monday summing up the year 2013.

Polish FM in the Netherlands

Radoslaw Sikorski
fot.Evert-Jan Daniels/PAP/EPA

In an online conversation with his ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski Sikorski also spoke about Poland’s foreign policy tasks in the coming year.

In this context he laid special weight on the May EP elections and the withdrawal of Polish forces from Afghanistan, and also mentioned the 600th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and Turkey, the 25th anniversary of the June 4, 1989 elections which took power from Poland’s communist regime, and the respectively 15th and 10th NATO and EU accession anniversary.

Stressing the importance of the EP elections, Sikorski said that in light of the large EU funding received by Poland a high turnout at the ballot would show that Poles felt responsible for European affairs.

„Our turnout (at the EP elections – PAP) should show that we feel co-responsible for Europe, especially as we’re such big EU funding beneficiaries”, Sikorski said.

Sikorski also reminded that the EU budget talks earlier this year were a diplomatic success for Poland.

„Despite the crisis and budget cuts Poland received more than in the previous tranche and is the biggest funding beneficiary. This is a showcase example of success”, Sikorski pointed out. As another Polish success he named the startup of the European Endowment for Democracy under Jerzy Pomianowski, a former deputy Foreign Minister.

According to Sikorski the Endowment „strengthened Poland’s image as a country that knew how to fight for its freedom and today knew how to share its experiences”.

Sikorski also mentioned the July-ended Polish presidency of the Visegrad Group (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland) and remarked that the Group was gaining on importance in the EU.

„The Visegrad Group today is an equally strong trademark as the Benelux Group, which is really a huge achievement and unthinkable still a couple of years ago”, the foreign minister remarked.

Sikorski also praised the Polish co-initiated Eastern Partnership project and Poland’s efforts to lead to the signature of an EU Association Agreement by Ukraine at last month’s Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius. Sikorski stressed that although Ukraine finally failed to sign the agreement, efforts in this direction undertaken by the Eastern Partnership states, especially Poland, were to be seen in a positive light.

„Now everything will depend on Ukraine, which is internally torn between its authorities and a large part of its population”, Sikorski said.

(PAP)

Categories: News in English

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