After successful talks with Her Majesty’s Government, I am pleased to report that the Ministry of Defence is today organising a reception to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution made by Polish armed forces towards the British war effort during the Second World War.
Whether in open skies during the Battle of Britain; in the Libyan Desert; at Monte Cassino or the Arnhem landing, our Polish colleagues fought side by side with the British and excelled in all their military duties.
We are expecting the Secretary of State for Defence together with the newly elected Polish President to be amongst many important guests attending the function with the opportunity to meet with some highly distinguished Polish veterans as well as British Army, Navy and RAF representatives who have Polish roots. We increasingly engage with Poland through a rapidly growing bilateral trade. As we build political alliances with Warsaw to plan the future direction of the EU, now is an appropriate time to recognise these truly unique historic links between the two countries as a foundation from which to continue to cement our special relationship.
In the past I have written on Conservative Home about how we need to monitor and scrutinise our government’s policy towards Russia, seeking to normalise the relations in order to begin trading again. Whatever one’s personal views are regarding the effectiveness of our current approach towards dealing with the Russians, one thing that unites many of us in this country is the growing need to show Russia that the NATO alliance is strong and we will do everything possible to protect those relatively new members in Central and Eastern Europe.
With this in mind it is important that we work with Poland to ensure that permanent NATO bases are established at the earliest opportunity east of the Vistula River. So far there has only been a very small base on the German-Polish border near Szczecin (Stettin), which is not sufficient to give adequate reassurance to the Poles and our regional allies. A base beyond Warsaw would clearly demonstrate to Russia that the impassable lines between the EU/NATO and Russia have been clearly defined and cannot and should not be changed for generations to come.
The borders of Central and Eastern Europe with Russia have historically often been unstable. It is in the interests of both sides that this demarcation line is clearly acknowledged and accepted beyond any reasonable doubt. Our message and commitment to our Polish and other East European friends is and should always be one of peace, stability and brotherhood in arms.
The article was first published on 15th September 2015 at Conservative Home.