WARSAW, (BM) – The Polish Parliamentary National Defense Commission supported the draft law allowing the ratification of the Polish-American agreement on expanding defense cooperation, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
In the introduction, Minister Błaszczak pointed out that the increase in the presence of US troops within the scope provided for in the agreement is a response to the deterioration of the security situation following the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 and the aggression against Ukraine in 2014.
This will enable the strengthening of the deterrence potential, increasing the level of security RP. He added that the agreement would allow not only to increase the presence of American troops, but also to expand the scope of joint exercises, and finally to prepare the capacity to receive a total of up to 20,000 US soldiers in an emergency.
The head of the Ministry of National Defense emphasized that signing this agreement also meets the expectations of the American administration, which requires the allies to make a greater contribution to the security system. He noted that thanks to this agreement, it is possible to strengthen the American presence in Poland even if the USA reduces it in other areas, while the actions of the United States will continue regardless of the political environment exercising power in Washington.
Minister Błaszczak also said that the implementation of the provisions of this agreement may lead to economic benefits for the Polish side, especially by local entrepreneurs in the places where they are stationed.
In the discussion, members of the opposition pointed out, among others on provisions relating to legal jurisdiction. Czesław Mroczek, former deputy head of the Ministry of National Defense in the PO-PSL government, also asked about the effects of covering the costs of the presence of American troops, including the construction of infrastructure, in relation to the modernization process of the Polish Armed Forces.
At the same time, the members of the Civic Coalition emphasized that the very fact of strengthening the American presence is positive and supported by this formation.
The Confederation MPs had a negative attitude towards the entire agreement. This, in turn, was strongly criticized by former Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, who on this occasion congratulated Minister Błaszczak and thanked President Duda for his cooperation in strengthening the American presence in the US.
On the other hand, responding to the arguments of the opposition deputies regarding the costs of the American presence, Minister Błaszczak emphasized that the Polish side needs time to implement the process of technical modernization, and during this period, the support of the United States will be a significant support for security. In turn, maintaining an appropriate level of security is a necessary condition for the implementation of investments and economic development.
The Polish-American agreement signed on August 15, due to its scope, requires ratification by parliament, which was confirmed by the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Piotr Wawrzyk, who was present at the meeting. The vast majority of MPs present at the meeting (34) voted in favor of the agreement, three were against and five abstained.
The aforementioned agreement, called Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement – EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement), provides, inter alia, the Polish side covers part of the costs of current maintenance of American troops (including food, accommodation, the amount of fuel determined annually, and support in the storage of equipment and the operation of the infrastructure used) in the amount of approximately PLN 500 million per year. In turn, the US authorities will continue to bear the costs of e.g. transport, salary and equipment for soldiers.
Warsaw will take precedence in its legal jurisdiction over acts committed by US soldiers, not related to official duties, if the Polish side so wishes. On the other hand, in the case of violations of the law related to the performance of service, standard NATO rules will apply, i.e. the jurisdiction of the home state (US troops). Polish soldiers in Latvia and Romania.
The Polish side undertook to expand the infrastructure to be used by American and Polish troops, including:
- C2 military complex in Poznań (including for the forward command of the US Army division and the forward command of the 5th Corps);
- Facilities of the Combat Training Center in Drawsko Pomorskie (to be used by American and Polish troops);
- Infrastructure in Powidz, incl. for the US Army air force brigade (also equipped with Apache attack helicopters) and for logistic, support and special units;
- Infrastructure in Łask for the Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle squadron (additional elements will be built in Mirosławiec and Dęblin);
- Infrastructure at the Żagań-Świętoszów center for the US Army armored brigade combat group;
- The loa
- ding and unloading base at the Wrocław-Strachowice airport (with additional elements at the Kraków-Balice airports and
- The special forces facility in Lubliniec
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