Joint press conference

with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda

  • 15 Feb. 2023 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 15 Feb. 2023 17:42

(As delivered)

President Duda,
dear Andrzej,

Welcome back to NATO Headquarters.
It is always a great pleasure and honor to welcome you here because you are such staunch supporter of our transatlantic bond of the NATO Alliance.
And thank you for your strong personal commitment to NATO.
And to Europe and North America working closely together.
And not least, thank you for your strong support to Ukraine at this critical time.

Poland makes great contributions to NATO in many different ways.
You host one of NATO’s battlegroups.
You spend well over 2 % of your GDP on defence.
And invest in new modern capabilities.

Today, in our meeting we addressed Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine.

Almost one year since his brutal invasion, President Putin shows no sign that he is preparing for peace.
On the contrary, he is launching new offensives.
And targeting civilians, cities and critical infrastructure.

Putin must realise that he cannot win.
And for that, we must continue providing Ukraine quickly the weapons and ammunition they need.
To retake territory, and prevail as a sovereign nation in Europe.

Poland plays a leading role in these efforts. With significant military equipment and training, as well as humanitarian and economic aid.
And NATO’s security umbrella enables Poland to play this vital role.

In our meeting we also discussed the role of Belarus in Putin’s war.
Belarus continues to host and support Russian forces.
And is deepening its political and military integration with Russia.

We call on Belarus to end its complicity in the war.

As we face the greatest security crisis in a generation, we are taking further steps to strengthen NATO’s defences. 

We are reinforcing our presence and readiness from the Black to the Baltic Sea.
Including in Poland.

Fighter jets from the United States and the Netherlands help protect your skies.
Patriot batteries from Germany augment your air defences.
And thousands of troops from other NATO Allies are in Poland to help deter aggression.

Together, we send a clear message, so there can be no room for miscalculation in Moscow.
NATO will defend every inch of Poland.
And of the whole Allied territory.

Thank you for your invitation to take part in the B9 Summit next week in Warsaw.
The Summit will send a strong message of Alliance unity and resolve.
And I look forward to meet you and the other B9 leaders there.

So President Duda, once again, thank you for our excellent discussion.
And for Poland’s outstanding contribution to NATO.

So please you have the floor.

President Duda (as interpreted):
Mr. Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen,
first and foremost, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Mr. Secretary General for this opportunity to start my short – albeit very intensive – European  tour from paying a visit precisely here in Brussels, in NATO headquarters, and meeting Mr. Secretary General.

Ladies and Gentlemen, a lot is happening in Poland and is going to happen in Poland in the next couple of days in terms of foreign policy. But first and foremost in terms of security policy. As you know, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are expecting the visit by President of the United States, Mr. Joe Biden, who is coming to Warsaw soon.

During that visit, it is important to note, that there will be a meeting of the countries of central Europe who are members of the North Atlantic Alliance that so called Bucharest 9 – B9 – participated also by the President of the United States. I'm here in Brussels today in order to discuss this meeting with Secretary General. I'm also here in order to personally, in my name as the host of the place where the summit is going to take place, but also on behalf of President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová – and let me mention that Slovakia is presiding over B9 this year. So in my name, and in the name of Madam Čaputová, I would like to extend an invitation to Mr. Secretary General.

He is the one at the helm of NATO, he has been for many years. So we would like to invite him to take part in that meeting, in the B9 meeting because that presence is of key importance to the Alliance as a whole, to the coherence of [the] Alliance, it contributes to fostering our cooperation.
It is not a separate format. It is just part of NATO. I mean B9, which is cooperating with the whole of it.
That is why the presence of Mr. Secretary General is of key importance in this respect.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are going to talk about that security situation in our part of Europe. In the Eastern Flank of NATO. This is the element which is of biggest interest to us, also with a view to the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius. All of us are preparing to this Summit and this was also the topic of our conversation with Mr. Secretary General. I expressed our hopes and our expectations from the Polish side that we expect new security plans, new plans for our part of NATO. Not only for Poland, but also for the Baltic States and for the remaining countries of the eastern flank in the south.

Those readiness plans, which will result in a such a scenario that should any country in the eastern flank of NATO be attacked, then NATO will react immediately by invoking Article 5.
Today we already have this graduation – we have got a 10 and 30 and 90 day long plan. We would like also to make sure that the troops which are envisaged as NATO forces, which will be readily deployed to any place of emergency, that they be strengthened. This is important. This is one element.
Another important element is the infrastructure. In other words, the armaments or equipment serving the defence, what do we like to have?
We would like to have as many stockpiles of NATO equipment as possible. We would like to have that armament stockpile there in case of any attack so that it stays at the disposal of NATO forces stationed in that area are those who will be deployed to that area. It is obvious, that if the infrastructure is there, on the ground, then the deployment of forces is possible, [inaudible] then this whole infrastructure would not need to be transported to repel a potential attack. So this is very important to us and for sure, we would like the decisions to go in that direction.

For sure the Bucharest 9 states are going to discuss and address these topics also. I asked this question to Mr. Secretary General today because from the Polish perspective, this is the top priority for the security of Poland. I also informed Mr. Secretary General about our decisions, I said that we have increased our defence spending, and they have exceeded the level of 2% of GDP provided in 2014. This year we are going to exceed 4% of GDP as I'm sure you have heard.
We are acquiring a lot of equipment from the United States. We're also procuring armaments from South Korea, first and foremost because we can get it delivered. Immediately. We will have big deliveries of this equipment this year. The first batch of this equipment has already been delivered. There were a countries that happened just a couple of months after we placed the orders. We are speaking about tanks, then howitzers, we are also getting planes. So we expect to get a lot of this equipment. This is going to strengthen significantly NATO's eastern flank. We want to be as self-sufficient as possible, being a credible element of stability and defence of the Allied territory.

So briefly speaking, we're treated very seriously the matter of our security. What we can do on our own and also what we can offer to the Alliance as a whole, including our neighbours, the Baltic states, and also our neighbours in the south.

That, Ladies and Gentlemen, another important topic that we raised today with Mr. Secretary General was that support to Ukraine both in terms of planning this support, what kind of equipment we are capable, able to provide Ukraine with as the North Atlantic Alliance as a community. As you know, Ladies and Gentlemen precisely within NATO, within our actions as NATO we are delivering.

As we speak, we are delivering tanks to Ukraine, Challenger tanks from the UK. I am very grateful to Allies for doing that.
We are delivering also tanks from Canada, which right now have come. We also will deliver tanks from Poland. We're speaking about tanks and additional infrastructure from Germany. All of this has already been promised by Germany to Ukraine. We're speaking about state of the art tanks. This is Leopard 2A6. So this is really cutting edge technologies. So we're very much grateful for all those donations. We want to collect at least an armoured brigade for Ukraine. We hope that perhaps, if not, a few brigades could be formed right now.

In Poland, in our training facilities, soldiers are being trained. Two days ago, I paid a visit to one of the centres where I met Ukrainian tankers, they're preparing to operate Leopard tanks. In that facility, they were cooperating with our instructors, but they're also instructors and trainers from Norway and Canada. So there is the full cooperation also in this respect in the preparation of training of Ukrainian soldiers, and I'm grateful for that to Mr. Secretary General and to our Allies.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, another topic we raised with Mr. Secretary General, was that of other meetings that I'm planning. Tomorrow, I'm heading to the UK,  to London, where I will talk to the British Prime Minister, and also I'm going to have an audience with His Majesty the King.

I will also attend Munich Security Conference where I expect to meet in the so called “Weimar Triangle” format. This meeting will bring together President Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, and the Chancellor of Germany, Mr. Olaf Scholz, this is going to be a Polish-French-German meeting, and we're going to raise all the topics which we are discussing today.
Cooperation of building the security zone, unity of the Alliance, everything that is so important to all of us today.

Once again, let me extend my gratitude to Mr. Secretary General for his huge involvement and commitment to the support of the eastern flank and for fostering the unity of the Alliance as a whole. This is a huge marriage. This credit goes to Mr. Secretary General. Let me also thank you so much, Mr. Secretary General, that we can always count on you. And actually, I can say that we have known each other, we met each other, on the first day of my presidency. I met you when I was still President Elect and then we met at the Warsaw NATO Summit.

Thank you, Mr. Secretary General, for sure you are one of the most important figures contributing to the building up of that security zone in the eastern flank in Europe. There is a proof that you enjoy huge and gratitude among the Allies. You have been in this position for a longer time than initially scheduled. And I thank you very much for this. Thank you also for your commitment to the issues of Ukraine and our security. This is highly appreciated in Poland. We are immensely grateful for that for this extremely professional work. And also thank you for your kindness and understanding Mr. Secretary General.

NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu:
Well, two questions but we only have a few minutes so please keep them short. TVP.

Polish Television. My question goes to President Duda. President, your diplomatic activities, which are upcoming are aimed also at supporting Ukraine. That firstly, at convincing allies to further strengthen NATO's eastern flank. Mr. President, how do you see practical contribution of Poland in this area in the nearest time? And a question to NATO Secretary General asking about the Madrid decisions. Mr. Secretary General, will you put forward an initiative to increase the number of NATO troops in Poland in the Baltic states. You also wanted to scale up the battle groups to the level of brigade. So how is this process going on? Can our region count on positive decisions in this respect in Vilnius? Thank you.

President Duda (as interpreted):
Ladies and Gentlemen, first and foremost, as I said during my opening remarks, our responsibility for the security first and foremost of Poland of course, but also our responsibility for NATO as a whole, mainly speaking about our neighbours in NATO's eastern flank, is among others, implemented through the fact that we are serious, very serious about our allied commitments. For a long time we have been spending more than 2% of GDP on defence. For a long time we have been modernizing our armed forces, we have been procuring more modern equipment. We have been increasing the number of Polish soldiers. So recently in the light of a clear threat of renewed Russian imperialism and potential Russian attack on NATO states, we have intensified all these activities.
As I said, more than 4% of GDP. This is how much we are going to spend this year on defence. We are buying new equipment and we're increasing the number of our troops. We are buying new equipment, among others because as you know, we are involved in the air policing mission over the Baltic states and also in other places, wherever NATO decides.
So we were also present in Iceland in this mission, but also in any other spot where it is necessary to do so as part of allied activity, our pilots and our jets are ready to serve.
We are going to go on with our purchases.  We are waiting for F-35 planes from the United States. We are waiting also for F-A 50 planes from South Korea, which we also ordered. 
So having said that, I hope that this potential of Polish Air Forces is going to be significantly boosted in the near future. But apart from that, we are also implementing tasks as part of enhanced forward presence in Latvia.
Polish soldiers are there on the ground all the time. Our tank company is deployed there, and it is guarding and securing the NATO area in Latvia. Our soldiers are also present as part of NATO in Romania as well. And they are carrying out their duties and service there. If there is such a need from the Alliance, of course, we will be ready, especially if such joint decisions are made. We will be ready also to deploy our soldiers to other regions or to increase our military presence.
Allies can count on us. We are talking about these issues, I'm talking with the presidents of the Baltic states.
I know there are high expectations, especially given different kinds of threats appearing in our region. There is a hybrid threat emanating from Belarus, for instance, you know about hybrid attacks against our border which were happening in the last years. We are treating that very seriously. We are supporting our allies as much as we can and we treat our presence in NATO responsibly.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
On our presence in Poland and in the eastern part of the Alliance, we have over the last years significantly increased our presence. With more NATO troops and those of the bilateral presence of the United States in Poland.
We have the battle groups. And the decision we made at the Madrid Summit was to make those battle groups scalable to brigade level. And in addition, to have more pre-positioned supplies and equipment, and then also to have here troops that can quickly reinforce. So this is something we should now, are in the process of implementing. But you have to remember also that on top of the increased NATO presence, we have a significant increased presence of US troops over the last years and months in Poland.

NATO Spokesperson:
Okay, I'm afraid this is all we have time for because the Secretary General needs to go to Türkiye. This concludes this press point. Thank you.