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Submitted by Marcin Bąk on Mon, 12/23/2019 - 10:25


It would be banal and unrevealing to readers to remind them of the well-known and concise definition of foreign policy: as a basic attribute of the functioning of an independent and sovereign state serving the clearly defined goal of protecting national and state interests. And similarly, to refer to the various trends in contemporary research and journalism that point out the interdependence and mutual interaction of internal and foreign policy and emphasise dependences involving a states activity on the international scene, particularly in terms of its place in European and global rivalry of a political and economic nature. Much space could also be devoted to considerations of the objective (geographical, historical and social) determinants of foreign policy, as well as the subjective ones, based largely on the perception of a particular state and nation in the external environment. Poland, while retaining all of its specific and unique features, is subject here to the same processes and tendencies that have affected and continue to affect other countries of Central Europe. However, in view of the popular and accessible nature of this publication, we would prefer to leave such reflections aside and to focus on describing the main directions that Polish foreign policy has taken since 2015 and Law and Justices election victory. How much do they represent fundamental or even revolutionary change, and how much are they a peaceful continuation and gradual evolution of processes that were already taking place earlier?  To what degree have the stated foreign policy goals of the political forces currently in power in Poland been successfully achieved in recent years?


On the strategy of imitation

A superficial glance at Poland from an outside perspective may give the somewhat misleading impression that the formulation of a new vision for foreign policy following the changes of 1989 was a relatively easy task, not involving a great deal of philosophy. It was simply necessary to realign the vectors of civilisation. After decades of subordination to the decision centre of the countries of peoples democracy, which lay in Moscow to make a full turn towards the West, the democratic world, from which Poland and its neighbours had been excluded for decades due to the unfortunate circumstances that followed World War II. Euro-Atlantic integration, compliance with the acquis communautaire and the Copenhagen criteria, implementation of International Monetary Fund recommendations, effective use of the PHARE pre-accession EU funds, development of European regional policy, etc. these slogans, effectively up to 2004, exhausted the causative powers of Polish diplomacy up to the time of Polands accession to the EU, along with other countries of the region, in 2004.

This initial period, in a basically natural way, on one hand favoured what became known as an imitative strategy of modernisation. The copying and somewhat reactive implementation of solutions that dominated in Western European politics and the Euro-Atlantic discourse in the 1990s and early 2000s ever closer union  in Europe, economic liberalisation via a reduction in public ownership, opening of domestic markets to foreign investors, and reduction of the role of nation states in the EU decision-making process were accepted practically without question. The main political actors in power at that time thus focused not on seeking new alternative solutions, but on the automatic transfer of more or less tried and tested models of behaviour from the outside world. The diplomatic message that Poland is the leader on the path of European integration was for years the most desired assessment for Polish politicians of all colours. However, there was little of what is known in the Anglo-Saxon political tradition as resilience  – the ability to react effectively, flexibly and unconventionally to the variable challenges of a dynamic reality. In the unquestioning Euro-enthusiasm there came about a certain ossified dogmatism, which failed to notice the dangers that appeared with some intensity even at the end of the previous decade, and have today done so with great force, giving notice of fundamental changes in not just the European but the global order.

To overcome powerlessness

It is hard to identify a watershed in Polish political life before 2015 that represents the start of attempts to create independent ideas of foreign policy. Commonly cited here is the Jagiellonian policyconducted in the years 20062010 by President Lech Kaczyński, who died tragically in the Smolensk air disaster, by which Warsaws interest was directed towards the post-Soviet countries, particularly Ukraine, Moldova and the Caucasus, in cooperation with the Baltic states, which were already EU members. A policy that partly served the realisation of a defined vision of Polish and regional economic and security interests, particularly energy security, an element of a wider range of actions to attract those countries which had gained independence following the Soviet collapse into the Euro-Atlantic world. And partly a reaction to the policy of the Kremlin, which tried to hamper the process of political emancipation of those countries.

In response to President Kaczyńskis policy, the governing Civic PlatformPSL coalition, which came to power following the early parliamentary election of autumn 2007, after some time formulated what was called a Piast policy(after the Piast dynasty of Polish history, a predecessor of the Jagiellonians). This policy provided for a turn towards the West and the Franco-German centre of the EU, together with plans, supported by the administration of American president Barack Obama, for a resetwith Russia and the conduct of Polish eastern policy through EU institutions and mechanisms, such as the Eastern Partnership initiative. However, considering the subsequent sequence of events, including the Euromaidan revolutions in Ukraine, the Russian annexation of Crimea, and the lack of progress in relations with Belarus and Moldova (even after the political changes that took place in the latter country following public protests in 2009 and the temporary reorientation of its policy towards the West), the strategy applied by the governments of Donald Tusk (20072014) and Ewa Kopacz (20142015) did not bring the results that Poles expected. The same may be said of the concept upheld by those governments of sailing with the main current of European policy, which concluded with Warsaws acceptance, towards the end of Kopaczs premiership, of the forced relocation of 120,000 refugees within the EU agreed at the European Council on 22 September 2015 despite the opposition of all of the other Visegrád countries and Romania.

In general, the coalition governments of 20072015 swiftly became supporters of a more federal model of European integration, as formulated by foreign minister Radosław Sikorski in a famous speech titled Poland and the Future of Europe, given to the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin in 2011. In that speech, Sikorski expressed the view that the European institutions should enjoy more power, and called on the Germans to more actively take on the role of leader of the EU a position that was strongly criticised by Jarosław Kaczyńskis party, then in opposition.[1]


Main goals of Polish foreign policy after 2015

Coming to power in November 2015, the new governing majority was thus faced with the choice of a fundamental reform of Polish foreign policy. It was to involve active and creative participation in the European debate over the most important challenges that the continent faces. These include illegal and increased migration and the associated growing terrorist threat, the crisis in the EU caused by Britains decision to leave its structures, and the need to strengthen the position of nation states in the decision-making process. In this uncertain environment, those in power should make much greater use than in previous years of the instrument of membership of international organisations and the involvement of those organisations in achieving their own political goals.

Foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski, in an opening policy statement to the Sejm (the lower house of parliament), when setting out the tasks of Polish diplomacy for 2016, listed the following four pillars:

  • ending the policy of clientelism towards the decisions of other countries;
  • presenting Polands own vision of its place in Europe and the world, including the formulation of national goals and foreign policy ideas;
  • building understandings with other partner countries, based on a commonality of interests and values;
  • attaching adequate weight to actions in the symbolic sphere and under what is called the geopolitics of emotion.[2]


We will strive to root foreign policy in the political will of sovereign states, which if they are joined by a dee commonality of values and interests are ready to work together in solidarity to achieve common goals. We will base our policy on the primacy of international law over brute force, over the idea of a concert of great powers dividing up the world into spheres of influence against the popular will, the new foreign minister promised in the same speech. [3]

A new perspective. A response to the migration crisis

On 1 April 2016, several months after the election and the start of Beata Szydłos premiership (20152017), the Sejm gave a negative assessment of the decision of EU bodies concerning obligatory quotas and compulsory relocation of immigrants from outside Europe within the EU, and of the support given to such decisions by the previous cabinet.

The lower house of parliament called for the very precise application of national criteria of refugee policy, which ought to provide particular protection to lone women, children, families with multiple children, and religious minorities. The house expressed clear opposition to any attempts to introduce permanent EU mechanisms for the allocation of migrants. MPs from the new governing majority and from the party Kukiz`15 made it clear that the instruments of refugee and immigration policy should remain in Polands hands. This is particularly important in view of the growing social tensions caused by the excessive wave of migration to Europe from the Middle East. It was also noted that within the EU institutions attempts were being  made to impose decisions on Poland in the matter of immigrants, even though the decisions proposed to solve this problem had no basis in European law, and were in violation of national sovereignty, European values and the EU principle of subsidiarity. They also carried threats to the social order in Poland, the security of its citizens, the heritage of its civilisation, and its national identity.

The Sejm appealed for resistance to all actions against national sovereignty, and stated that it was the governments obligation to protect the national interest and the constitutional order in the Republic. The Sejm of the Republic of Poland fully supports the provision and funding of humanitarian aid in places affected by armed conflict and their neighbouring countries.() This resolution expresses opposition to the imposition on member states of predetermined numbers of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa, the resolution stated. MPs from the opposition  Civic Platform and Nowoczesna (Modern) parties voted against the resolution.[4]

The authors of the resolution underlined that it was the duty of the state to protect the security of Poles and not to allow situations of the kind experienced in Germany or Sweden, where local forces of law and order have lost control over parts of some city neighbourhoods. At the same time, an assurance was given that it did not mean Poland wanted to break ranks with European solidarity and assistance. We should still give aid where that aid is needed,one coalition MP argued, but not through imposed allocation quotas.[5]

The creed of Polish policy towards the problem of migrants was set out by deputy foreign minister Konrad Szymański, who, in an appraisal of the Dutch EU presidency (JanuaryJune 2016), said that the EU should appreciate the external dimension of the European response to the migration crisis, which would accord with the expectations of Poland, the Visegrád Group and other countries. With the support of those countries, a successful move was made in late 2016 to transform the European Frontex agency into the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). We want an effective method of managing the external border, we want an effective EU asylum system, but we do not agree to any interference, any external influence on refugee or migration policy, which ought to be exclusively the responsibility of individual member states, the minister emphasised.[6]

A similar view of immigration policy was expressed by foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski. In a speech to the Sejm on Polish foreign policy plans for 2017, he argued that a way out of Europes difficulties with refugees and migrants should be sought not in compulsory relocation, but in the solving of problems at their place of origin and in more effective protection of the Unions external borders. He announced, among other things, that Polish border guards and police were providing support to border guards in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia and Hungary. At the same time, Polish humanitarian aid had reached migrants and refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.[7] Together with its Visegrád Group partners, Poland had provided 35 million euro for border protection in Libya. In February 2018, prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki paid a visit to Lebanon, where he launched a project to build homes for Syrian refugees.[8]

All in all, in 2017 Poland gave more than 180 million zloty for humanitarian aid and almost 590 million for developmental aid, giving a total of around 770 million zloty. The sum of funds allocated for humanitarian purposes in 2019 is six times larger than in 2015, and is the highest in the entire history of post-communist Poland.[9]

The unilateral policy of Germany in the matter of refugees was also criticised by Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński, who in an interview given in spring 2017 to one of the largest Polish Internet portals said that Chancellor Angela Merkel had made a huge mistake in opening up borders to immigrants, namely that she had begun the break-up of the Union.[10]

The philosophy adopted by the governments of Beata Szydło and Mateusz Morawiecki was reflected in the negative Polish response to the so-called  Marrakesh Declaration, adopted in December 2018 as a non-binding UN document on migration. Foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz, in conversation with his Slovakian counterpart Miroslav Lajčák, who was leading the work of the UN General Assembly and working on a resolution on migration, made it clear that Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic had their own approach to the way of solving the migration problem within the EU framework. He said that compulsory relocation was clearly unacceptable, but that an understanding could certainly be reached in other matters.[11]

A secure Poland in a secure Europe

A significant source of Polands attractiveness and its ability to influence decision-making processes effectively, whether as a NATO ally or EU partner, is its ability to cooperate and to articulate the interests of the countries of our region. ““The old motto of all sensible diplomacy –  ‘Security above everything’ – thus also serves as our signpost, said foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz in a report on the directions of Polish foreign policy for 2018. [12] He underlined that national security was the highest priority of Polish foreign policy, particularly given the confrontational policy of the Russian Federation towards Ukraine, and also towards Poland, the Baltic states and NATO generally, especially its more active members. Apart from Polands own military potential (the country currently spends 2% of its GDP on defence, soon to rise to 2.5%)[13] its national security is dependent on the strength and cohesion of the North Atlantic Alliance. Since autumn 2015 the Polish government and president have been campaigning successfully for a strengthening of NATOs military presence in the region. The aim of Polish transatlantic policy is to further strengthen bonds with the United States in the area of security. Bilateral cooperation is being developed, as well as joint action in multinational forums, particularly NATO. Law and Justice is opposed to any steps that may provoke transatlantic divisions, particularly in the face of the trade disputes between the US and several of the oldEU member states. In this context, the greatest challenge for Polish foreign policy is to obtain a guarantee of the permanent not merely rotating presence of American troops in the country, and the related ideas for the building of Fort Trump, a permanent American military base in Poland. Efforts in this direction have been made continuously since the 2016 NATO summit in Warsaw, particularly during President Trumps visit to Poland in summer 2017, and have been intensified both by the Law and Justice government and by the presidents office.  The permanent presence of American troops in Poland increases the level of deterrence to a potential aggressor. Poland is prepared to participate in the costs of maintaining the base. According to a survey conducted by the CBOS polling agency in December 2017, 77% of Poles support the stationing of allied troops in the country. We should also remember that Poles in general are well-disposed to the military and trust its personnel. According to recent polls, almost two-thirds of Poles have a positive opinion concerning the armed forces.[14]

During the Middle East summit held in Warsaw in February 2019, Washington finally announced that it would supply the Polish army with HIMARS rocket launcher systems. These will include not only the launchers themselves, but also vehicles for their transportation, missiles, and guidance systems. The package also includes computers, test missiles, telecommunications equipment, spare parts, training, and logistic support.[15]

Earlier, in March 2018, Poland had signed a $4.75 billion contract with the American Raytheon company for the first phase of the purchase of Patriot missile defence systems.[16] This is the largest contract for the purchase of armaments for the Polish armed forces since the times of the fall of communism.


The future of the EU

In an interview for the Polish Press Agency (PAP) a year after Law and Justice came to power, party leader Jarosław Kaczyński spoke the meaningful words: The question is whether the Union in its current form, with its terrible bureaucracy and the institutionalised practice of challenging member states, is in a position to survive. In my opinion it is not. I am in favour of the Union. However, it must be adjusted to the real structure of Europe, its asset. A superpower may come into being, but not through the federalisation of Europe, only by another mechanism. We have proposals of our own. In the same interview he noted that one success of the changes gradually taking place in Europe is that today, discussion on the future of the Union which at one time would not have been possible at all is taken up in an increasingly open manner.[17]

How might we sum up Polands strategy towards the EU as briefly as possible? An answer can be found in the speech by minister Witold Waszczykowski that has already been mentioned here. On one hand it is an alternative to the polarisationmodel pushed by the Brussels elites, which assumes the existence of a controlling hard centre of the EU, for instance based on the eurozone or banking union. On the other hand, the strategy assumes the equality of all members of the Unions community, and aims to strengthen the role of the member states in the decision process. The minister thus listed several objectives:


  • a Union of many regional centres, not divided into one decision centre in the eurozone and a periphery dependent on it;
  • an EU of equal states, not a hierarchy between states;
  • a community of deregulation, and not of successive sanctions, orders and prohibitions;
  • a Union of solidarity. It is solidarity that builds a community and ensures that the rate of the EUs development also includes the weakest members of that community;
  • an organisation of democracy. Democracy is formed by the individual member states and may have different faces, just as there are different faces of the demos, the real civic populace;
  • an open Union, which always leaves open the possibility of accepting new countries as members;
  • a community built on permanent roots of civilised identity, and not on social constructivism. The most obvious and well-tested European identity is constituted by Christian values.[18]

However, just before the European Parliament elections in spring 2019, Law and Justice defined its programme in this area in the form of 12 very concrete points:[19]


  1. A Europe of Values

We will act to return the European Union to the values that its creators expounded and that were to be its foundation

  1.  A Europe for the Family

We will defend the right of parents to bring up their children

  1. European support for Polish rural areas

We will actively seek support for the interests of Polish farmers in the forum of the EU

  1. An EU budget that is good for Poland

We will negotiate a new European Union budget that is favourable to Poland

  1. A European Common Free Market

We will defend the equal treatment of Polish firms in the European market

  1. Secure borders for Europe

We will continue to fight effectively for the security and protection of the Unions external borders

  1. An energy-independent Europe

We will make every effort to ensure the energy security of Poland and Europe

  1. The same quality of products across Europe

We will fight to ensure that consumers throughout Europe are treated equally and have access to goods and products of the same quality

  1. A Europe of equal opportunities

We will strive to eliminate double standards in the treatment of countries within the EU

10. A fair European climate policy

We will aim to ensure that Europes climate policy takes account of Polish interests 

  1. Balanced development the basis of a strong EU

We want a strong cohesion policy as a basis for the EU to develop rapidly and in solidarity

  1. A stop to illegal immigration

We want Europe to provide assistance in places of conflicts. We oppose illegal immigration


The Visegrád Group and regional cooperation

The Visegrád Group (the V4), which has existed since the early 1990s and includes Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, went through a visible crisis at the start of the 2010s. Moreover, it appeared to lose influence to the Weimar Triangle (France, Germany, Poland) or to stay in the shade of fresh regional initiatives in the form of the Slavkov Trilateral (2015), which groups the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria.

Since autumn 2015 Poland has played an active part in revitalising the Visegrád format, attaching high importance to the regular consultations at ministerial, prime ministerial and presidential levels.  Cooperation has also begun on an unprecedented scale between the parliaments of the four countries, involving both the speakers of the chambers and specialised parliamentary committees.

It has been shown that the V4 are linked not only by a common policy and approach to the migrant question, but also by many other matters, for example:


  • A belief in the need to improve the quality of food and household chemical products reaching Central European markets;
  • Support for the strengthening of the role of national parliaments in EU decision-making, including their proposed right to introduce legislative initiatives at EU level, or even to veto community regulations that directly breach the EUs principle of subsidiarity;
  • Their position towards the EUs long-term financial frameworks, including for the Common Agricultural Policy.[20]


Common positions of the Visegrád countries have been worked out through regular summits of their presidents, prime ministers and parliamentary speakers, held at least twice a year, as well as numerous  ad hoc  consultations. An unwritten tradition has developed whereby positions are agreed, or at least information is exchanged, by the Visegrád leaders ahead of EU summits and other major international meetings.

In view of the close cooperation between its members, the Visegrád Group has come to be compared to the Benelux system,[21] which represents the combined interests of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and to the Nordic Council, constituted since the 1950s by Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. At the same time, another process has been observed the perception of the Visegrád quartet in relation to the GermanFrench duet. This is well illustrated by the influence which the V4 have been able to exert in the matter of EU migration policy or on the policies of some large anti-EU parties such as the French National Front (   now the National Rally) and the Italian League, which have begun to talk of the need to reform the EU rather than leave it, citing the position of the V4 in matters of importance to them, such as the immigration question or the upholding of the sovereignty of member states. More evidence of the attraction of the V4 is given by the increasingly common declarations from countries such as Romania, Austria and Italy of their desire for closer cooperation with the Visegrád Group. All of this naturally represents a success of all the Visegrád countries. However, it would probably not have been possible under a continuation of the characteristic policy of the Polish government before 2015 much celebrated, but usually lacking anything concrete, sometimes unexpectedly and violently breaking with agreements that had been worked out, as in the case of the change in the Polish position regarding compulsory immigrant quotas.[22]


The Three Seas Initiative

A new initiative of Polish foreign policy after 2015 is the Three Seas strategy. Its institutional patron is the President of Poland, in partnership with the presidential offices of other countries, particularly Croatia, but also Austria, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia,  Estonia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. On one hand this initiative is a clear echo of the foreign policy strategy pursued by Lech Kaczyński in the years 20062010; on the other, it emphasises issues relating to energy security, economic and infrastructural matters, and the project that is probably the best known and associated with the Three Seas: the Via Carpathia.[23]

One of the key elements of cooperation is the linking of the countries of the region with the Western European system of energy and gas connections, in order to increase competition and improve the security of supplies. This takes place both through the building of gas hubs and through interconnectors between individual countries, such as Romania and Hungary, Slovakia and Austria, or the Czech Republic and Poland. The security and diversification of supplies for the whole region, where Russian gas still dominates, are also to be ensured by LNG terminals in Poland, Lithuania and Croatia, and by the planned Baltic Pipe gas pipeline between Denmark and Poland, which will be used to transport Norwegian gas. This system means that Poland will be able to receive approximately 1618 billion cubic metres of gas annually, which will satisfy domestic demand for the raw material, along with the approximately four billion cubic metres that Poland itself produces. 

From 2022 gas supplies in Poland will be normalised and we will be able to ensure deliveries to Polish customers regardless of the situation we may be facing at that time,[24] the matter was summed up by the government minister responsible for strategic energy infrastructure, Piotr Naimski, at the 4th Scientific Conference Energy Policy Pillars and Perspectives. He also pointed out the geostrategic importance of the project, asking the rhetorical question: Why does a third of the gas in Europe come from Russia? Why are we sending those billions of dollars so that they have the money to deploy missiles in the Kaliningrad region? Do we want that?[25]

In the tracks of action taken to diversify sources of crude oil  at present barely a half of the amount sold to Polish consumers comes from Russia[26] a declared goal of the energy policy of the Law and Justice governments is to be able to stop using Russian gas entirely after the expiry in 2022 of the disadvantageous[27] long-term contract signed in 2010 by Donald Tusks government. By that time, supplies from Russia are expected to be replaced mostly by American and Norwegian gas. This is motivated by among other concerns the existing practices of the Russian company Gazprom towards Poland, which are discriminatory in nature, as has been confirmed by a wide-ranging European Commission inquiry.[28] The expansion of gas pipelines will also be necessary in view of the projected growth in gas demand in the Three Seas countries. The European Commission forecasts that by 2030 gas consumption in those countries will be about 14% higher than in 2015, compared with a 4% decrease in the EU as a whole. The largest increases are projected for Poland, Slovenia, Latvia and Austria.[29]

Apart from energy and infrastructure projects current ones like the Via Baltica and Via Carpathia, and those planned for the future, like the fast WarsawBelgrade rail link we may return for a moment to the Three Seas Initiative itself, and take note of what was emphasised at the Three Seas Forum of the Regions in Rzeszów in July 2018, namely that the undertaking also has an important political and social dimension, at a time when the EU as a whole displays a strong tendency to move away from its founding principles.  Participants at the forum noted that, because of their histories, the twelve Three Seas countries share a similar attachment to sovereignty, freedom and Christian values. With a total population of around 120 million, they may carry greater weight in the EU than the Visegrád countries alone, which have just over 60 million inhabitants. This may prove valuable in defending those countriespositions, in an EU whose two largest players Germany and France, with a combined population of around 150 million have decided, under a new treaty on cooperation and integrationsigned on 22 January 2019 in Aachen, to agree common positions systematically ahead of every major EU-level meeting.

Polish  parliamentary diplomacy

The constitution of the new Sejm and Senate in 2015 led to the appearance of a new phenomenon: parliamentary diplomacy, which, although it has decades of tradition in countries such as the United States, is an innovation on the Polish scene. Frequent visits by the speakers of the Sejm and Senate, particularly to Polands neighbours and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, have opened the door to joint sittings and discussions between specialised parliamentary committees, on both a bilateral and multilateral basis. Fruits of the launch of parliamentary diplomacy in Poland include strategic partnership agreements, such as that with Hungary (2017),[30] as well as the Central and Eastern Europe parliamentary summits held annually in Warsaw, which discuss the most important issues and problems of the region, serving to maintain the process of Europes integration in matters of security, economics and culture.[31] Polish parliamentary diplomacy has also helped resolve many existing problems in international affairs, such as the poor relations with Lithuania.

Normalisation of relations with Lithuania

After 2015 there also came about a normalisation of PolishLithuanian relations, which in the first half of the decade had been cool, and practically frozen at the level of bilateral relations between leaders in Warsaw and Vilnius. A breakthrough came with the visit of Sejm speaker Marek Kuchciński to the Lithuanian capital, which included an address to the countrys parliament.[32] A consequence was the renewal of regular intergovernmental contacts after a break of more than eight years, symbolically crowned by a visit to Warsaw by President Dalia Grybauskaitė in February 2019. The presidents of the two countries then signed a declaration on the strengthening of partnership in the field of security. This concerns coordination of the operations of land forces, and cooperation in the fight against cyberterrorism and manifestations of modern hybrid warfare. Also being continued is the joint policy on the air defence of the Baltic states under the   Baltic Air Policing project, and the LithuanianPolishUkrainian Brigade (going under the name of its patron, Grand Hetman Konstanty Ostrogski). Another important point in the presidentsdeclaration was a decision to increase cooperation in building defence capabilities, including cooperation between the countriesdefence industries.

After many years of difficulties, a solution was also found to the problem of the transportation of crude oil from the refinery in Mažeikiai by the Lithuanian national railways an understanding was signed in 2017 by the Polish and Lithuanian national railway companies, and a year later by the Polish and Lithuanian branches of the company PKN Orlen, which owns the refinery.[33]


Poles abroad. The protective role of the Senate

A very important element of foreign policy in Poland, as in many other countries, is the maintenance of contact with compatriots living abroad.

Under the reform of policy towards the Polish community abroad, a mechanism has been restored whereby Poles in other countries are provided with protection by the Polish Senate. Support is now once again given to local Polish initiatives in the countries of our region and across the world, to Polish media, and to Polish-language education at all levels. Particular support is given to Polish cultural centres abroad, which are assigned a new role as real ambassadors of Polands language, history and culture.

Expenditure on Polish schooling outside the countrys borders has been increased. The government has pursued an active policy of cooperation with Polish organisations worldwide. This is linked to constant monitoring of respect for the rights of Polish national minorities, particularly the right to use their mother tongue freely in the public space, and the rights of Polish parents to raise their children in Polish culture and traditions.

Law and Justice has also proposed further development of the institution of the  Karta Polaka or Poles Card” – a special document that has been in existence since 2007, issued to Poles living abroad and having citizenship of other countries, confirming that they belong to the Polish nation. Not forgotten either is the latest generation of economic emigrants, planning to return to Poland. A special national bridge scheme has been established, coupled with government policy to make it easier to set up new businesses, improve youth employment, and support housing and the family. The goal of the scheme is to create a system of preferences for families and professionals returning from other countries who want to come to Poland with the capital they have earned abroad. At the same time, efforts have been made to create mechanisms of permanent cooperation between Poles abroad and their motherland, so that their skills can be used in working for Poland. This is assisted by special incentives to invest in Poland, to collaborate with Polish universities and research centres and to promote Polish interests in the country where they live, and by the promotion of Polish artistic talents abroad.[34] A  new law on the Poles Card has been passed by parliament, introducing measures to make it easier for holders of that document to settle in Poland. Holders of the Card who come to Poland with the intention of settling permanently receive a Permanent Residency Card free of charge, and gain Polish citizenship after one year. During the initial and most challenging period of adaptation, they are also entitled to financial assistance. In the first three months of their stay they receive a monthly allowance of 50% of the statutory minimum salary to partially cover relocation costs and costs of living; they then receive 60% of that amount for the next six months. Financial assistance is also provided to family members of holders of the Card. It will be possible for a Poles Card to be awarded to a child whose parent(s) died without receiving the Card, though being of Polish nationality or having Polish citizenship. The new regulations exempt holders of the Card from consular fees for the acceptance and consideration of a national visa application or for the handling of documentation relating to the granting of Polish citizenship. It has also been made possible to apply for the Card via a provincial governor (voivode) in Poland, who is now, like consuls, authorised to issue the Card.

Law and Justice MP and minister Michał Dworczyk, the prime ministers chief of staff, commenting on the passing of the new law, said that it treated compatriots in the East as partners. To those who want to stay in the land of their fathers, in the land of their grandparents, we say: the Polish state will support you, it will help uphold the Polish national identity, culture and language. And to those who wish to come here for all kinds of reasons, we say: we will make it easy for you, we will give you Polish citizenship, we await you with open arms.[35]



[2]              Kronika Sejmowa no. 7 (826), 31 January 2016, p. 21.


[3]              Ibidem.

[4]              Ibidem, no. 16 (835), 31 May 2016, p. 25.


[5]              Ibidem, no. 12 (831), 15 April 2016, p. 14.

[6]              Ibidem, no. 23 (842), 15 October 2016, pp. 2021.


[7]              Ibidem, no. 31 (850), 15 February 2017, p. 18.

[10]   … cz1/bqdtqf4?utm_source=wiadomosci_viasg&utm_medium=nitro&utm_campaign=allonet_nitro_new&srcc=ucs&utm_v=2

[12]             Kronika Sejmowa no. 58 (877), 31 March 2018, p. 3.


[18]             Kronika Sejmowa no. 7 (826), 31 January 2016, p. 21.

[20]             Ibidem, no. 23 (842), 15 October 2016, pp. 20-12.

[29]             Biuletyn   Polskiego Instytu Spraw Międzynarodowych, 30 June 201, Bartosz Bieliszczuk, no. 63 (1505)

[34] Ibidem.

[35] Kronika Sejmowa no. 12 (831), 15 April 2016, p. 9.