Poland-Romania axis, lessons for the Black Sea basin
Kara Deniz Press, 28 March 2023
Warsaw’s role in regional politics and the status of the Central and Eastern European region has increased significantly in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The visit of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Bucharest on 28 March 2023 may, he says, lead to the construction of “significant strategic plans” between the countries – Poland, Romania and Ukraine – directly subject to Russian military and hybrid aggression.
The two countries “fully support and promote a united and resilient European Union, acting in a coordinated manner, based on solidarity, cohesion, democracy and commitment to fundamental values and principles”.
“We see that, with the Russian aggression in Ukraine, the role, the rank of this region, in which we live, in which we create economic and social values, increases, that is why I believe, in depth, that in this triangle between Ukraine, Romania and Poland it will soon be possible – we hope it will be as soon as possible, after Ukraine’s victory and the achievement of peace – to build some significant strategic plans (…) strategic plans, which will be very ambitious from an economic, investment and business point of view, but also ambitious from a strategic point of view, from the point of view of military cooperation and from the point of view of creating a new economic community of more than 100 million (people – n.r.) in the Central European region”, Morawiecki said in his speech at the opening of the Romania-Poland Economic Forum.
The head of the Polish government confessed that he sees Romania as “a very great ally, a great ally in the fight for our common interests”. “For years, I tell you very frankly, our countries have been played by the East and the West. Of course, one cannot compare the pressure from the West with that from the East, but we have to realize that the first naive decades of transformation, of capitalism were, at the same time, decades in which we were largely used for Western Europe’s own purposes. From Romania, from Poland many people left. Now hundreds of thousands of people are returning to Poland for the first time in our history,” said Mateusz Morawiecki.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on Romania to speak with the same voice at the European Union level: “I ask our Romanian friends today to strengthen our voice, to be the same at the European Union forum. It is a very important thing if we speak with the same voice, because in this way we can secure our common interests,” the Warsaw Chief Executive said, according to the official translation.
A new alliance
The good interwar relations between Poland and Romania and the common history of the two peoples oblige us to find ways to intensify relations in all areas. One sign of this is the good cooperation at military level, with a Romanian military contingent deployed in Poland and a Polish one in Romania as part of NATO commitments. This is not the first time in history that the two nations have worked together militarily, and Warsaw has not forgotten the support Romania gave to the Polish civilian population during the Nazi invasion in 1939.
“We want our close security and defense ties to be matched by robust and fruitful economic cooperation commensurate with the potential offered by our two economies. Poland is one of Romania’s most important trading partners in the region: in 2022, bilateral trade reached a record level of almost €11 billion,” said Romanian President Iohannis in press statements with the Polish Prime Minister.
On the agenda of the talks between the two was the security situation in the Black Sea region and on the Eastern Flank, with a focus on the implementation of the decisions of the NATO summit in Madrid regarding the strengthening of the allied deterrence and defence posture on the Eastern flank, Romania’s accession to the Schengen area and Poland’s support for this, and Romania’s priorities for the Three Seas Initiative summit that President Iohannis will host in September.
“After three decades, Romania and Poland continue to demonstrate their firm commitment to strengthening their friendly relations and strategic cooperation as active members of the European Union and reliable allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. We express our intention to establish 3 March as Romanian-Polish Solidarity Day. In this regard, with the active support of the two governments and through coordinated actions in our legislative bodies, both sides will take the necessary steps to complete their internal procedures as soon as possible. Thus, we will celebrate our long-standing friendship, cooperation and partnership by celebrating the date of the signing of the Romanian-Polish Defence Alliance Convention in 1921, which is an important historical and symbolic landmark for our bilateral relations and the foundation of close and trust-based ties between our nations”, the two Prime Ministers also underlined.
They announced the decision to launch a Romanian-Polish cultural season in 2024-2025 to clearly underline our common history and to further stimulate cooperation between the creative sectors of the two countries.
Support for the East
Poland and Romania have similar security interests in the East, including the need to repel Russian military aggression against Ukraine and Moscow’s pressure on Moldova.
Following the meeting between President Klaus Iohannis and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the two sides agreed to step up support for the Republic of Moldova, in the context of this partner state’s vulnerability due to the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine, and reaffirmed that only Ukraine can decide “the parameters of peace talks with Moscow”.
“Romania and Poland will unequivocally maintain their support for Ukraine for as long as necessary. As is well known, since the beginning of this war, Romania has been at the forefront of action in support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people”, said the Romanian President.
“We reiterated together that only Kiev can decide the parameters of peace talks with Moscow. That is why we agreed with the Prime Minister on the need to strengthen bilateral coordination also within the European Union and NATO in order to continue full support for Ukraine”, the Head of State insisted.
At the same time, Iohannis said, the two leaders agreed to step up support for the most vulnerable and conflict-affected partners in the region, in particular the Republic of Moldova.
“In this regard, we reiterated our joint support for the advancement of the European course of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova as candidate states to the European Union,” Iohannis said.
Romania and Poland will continue to use all instruments at their disposal to further support interconnectivity with their eastern neighbours by promoting cooperation with Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, including in the framework of the Three Seas Initiative and the Eastern Partnership policy, the two countries’ prime ministers said in a joint statement.
“Russia and its complicit state, Belarus, must bear the consequences of their actions and pay reparations for the extensive destruction caused in Ukraine. Our support for Ukraine remains strong, consistent and multidimensional for as long as it is needed. Ukraine’s victory in this war is a sine qua non for rebuilding lasting peace and long-lasting stability in Europe”, the heads of the two governments reaffirmed.
Project Republic of Moldova
Romania and Poland “strongly support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognised borders”.
“With the exception of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova is the country most affected by Russia’s war against Ukraine. We strongly reject Russia’s unacceptable threatening rhetoric against the sovereign state of the Republic of Moldova. Russia must put an end to its provocative actions and statements, dissemination of false and incorrect information, unsubstantiated claims and attempts to further destabilize the security and stability of the Republic of Moldova and the region,” the statement explains.
The two EU countries “remain committed to continuing their support for the consistent efforts undertaken by both Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, as candidate states, on their path towards European integration”.
“We look forward to opening EU accession negotiations with the two countries this year and will continue our efforts in this regard. Welcoming Ukraine’s aspirations for NATO membership, we support a strong political signal on NATO-Ukraine political relations and practical cooperation at the NATO Summit in Vilnius. We continue to support the decisions taken at the Bucharest Summit regarding Georgia’s NATO aspirations and to promote the Open Door Policy. We support Georgia’s European aspirations and encourage the Georgian authorities to continue the reform efforts necessary to achieve EU candidate status”, the two Prime Ministers add.
Photo: Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the Romanian president Klaus Iohannis (source: presidency.ro)
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