Cooperation between Poland and the Baltic States is going very well, and Poland is contributing to Baltic security and wants to become a security provider in the region, as it is in Poland’s own interest, Michal Baranowski, the managing director of the German Marshall Fund’s East strand, told LETA in an interview on the sidelines of the Riga Conference..
“We are well aware that Poland’s security does not start at its borders, but at the borders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In this context, we are very happy to see Finland joining the Alliance and also Sweden, hopefully soon, because militarily it gives us a huge advantage both in deterrence and defense of the Baltic States,” said Baranowski.
He assessed relations between the Baltic States and Poland as very good, at least from Warsaw’s point of view. The expert highlighted that the Baltic States have been publicly rather quiet in their criticism of the Polish government, even when they have seen problems with the rule of law, as well as Poland’s conflict with Brussels and its conflict with Germany.
“Lithuania is a particularly good example, as it has an important security relationship with Germany, but it is Poland that is in close proximity to them and to the other Baltic States,” he said.
The new government formed by the opposition forces that won the elections in Poland, which will not be anti-German and anti-EU, which will be a proactive and constructive voice in the EU and will seek to restore relations with Germany, will counteract some of the tensions that the Baltic countries felt towards Warsaw, Baranowski believes.
In general, the Baltic countries and Poland see things rather similarly and the only difference, the expert said, is that the Baltic countries are in the euro area, while Poland is not.
Asked whether the EU is making sufficient use of opportunities to play a more prominent role in global affairs and in particular in its policy of support for Ukraine, Baranowski pointed out that Europe already provides more fiscal and economic assistance to Ukraine than the US.
“Transatlantic unity is extremely important and we need the US very much, both in terms of military assistance to Ukraine and in the future reconstruction, but we need to be aware that Europe is doing more in terms of economic assistance. Europe is also doing more in terms of military aid, which is catching up with the US,” the expert said.
He stressed that Europe also needs to do at least as much, and probably more, than the US. “Because the Americans are aware that Ukraine is our gateway, not theirs. Yes, it can be a transatlantic project, but it cannot be one where Europe does not do enough,” Baranowski explained.
He added that if a Republican administration comes to power in the US, possibly under Donald Trump, the US will certainly expect much more from the EU. It is also possible that the US will then want to focus more on the Middle East, especially if the war there continues, and on the Indo-Pacific region in competition with China.
“In that case, it will be up to the EU Member States to fill the gaps,” said the managing director of the German Marshall Fund’s East strand.
(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)