Press release

PM: Historic summit will strengthen UK-Poland ties

Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło to London for a summit to strengthen the UK-Poland relationship.

  • first meeting of its kind reflects shared commitment to strengthen our relationship
  • new civil society forum to deepen the ties between our nations
  • troop deployment next year will reinforce our defence co-operation

The Prime Minister will welcome the Polish Prime Minister to London today for a historic summit designed to strengthen the relationship between the UK and Poland as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

The UK-Poland bilateral summit will bring together both Prime Ministers along with a number of their senior Cabinet ministers, including the Chancellor and the Foreign and Defence Secretaries, for the first meeting of its kind.

Over a working lunch at Downing Street, Prime Minister Theresa May and Prime Minister Beata Szydło will hold bilateral talks focused on Brexit and defence co-operation, while the other ministers meet at Lancaster House. They will then all come together for plenary talks in the Cabinet room where they are expected to agree to deepen our co-operation on a range of areas, from foreign policy to defence and security, trade and investment to science and innovation, as well as talk about international issues such as Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria.

Leaders are to set out further details for the planned deployment of a UK infantry company to Poland, reinforcing our defence partnership with Poland as we work to secure NATO’s eastern flank. Around 150 troops from the Light Dragoons regiment in Catterick, as well as a number of armoured vehicles, will arrive in Orzysz in north east Poland in April 2017 on a rotating basis.

Speaking ahead of the summit, the Prime Minister Theresa May said:

Our ties with Poland are rooted deeply in our shared history. We will never forget the Polish pilots who braved the skies alongside us during World War 2, standing up for freedom and democracy in Europe, nor the valuable contribution made by so many Poles in our country today.

I am determined that Brexit will not weaken our relationship with Poland, rather it will serve as a catalyst to strengthen it. That’s why I am hosting the first ever summit of this kind between our countries today. It marks the start of a new chapter in our relations and we will work even more closely together to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.

Today’s meeting puts beyond doubt the common ground we share, the importance we attach to our bilateral relationship and the benefits it brings. We share a clear commitment to take our co-operation to the next level and to firmly establish the UK and Poland as resolute and strategic allies in Europe.

In an effort to strengthen ties between the people of the United Kingdom and Poland, both Prime Ministers will jointly host a reception in Downing Street to pay tribute to the contribution made by the Polish community in the UK.

Addressing around 50 members of the Polish community, the Prime Minister is expected to highlight the significant and valuable role they play in sectors such as business, medicine, academia and the arts and reiterate her strong condemnation of the attacks against Poles in the wake of the referendum result, underlining that hate crime of any kind has absolutely no place in British society.

The Prime Minister is also expected to announce the launch of a British-Polish Civil Society Forum, which will meet for the first time in Warsaw next year. This annual event will bring together business leaders, communities, academics and journalists for a series of working groups and plenary sessions to celebrate and expand our close relationship, shared values and history.

Background

The UK ministers participating in the summit are:

  • Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
  • Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
  • Defence Secretary Michael Fallon
  • Home Secretary Amber Rudd
  • Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark
  • Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis
  • Minister for the Armed Forces Mike Penning
  • Minister for Employment - Damian Hinds

The Polish ministers participating in the summit are:

  • Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Minister of Economic Development Mateusz Morawiecki
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski
  • Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz
  • Minister of Interior Mariusz Błaszczak
  • Secretary of State, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy Stanislaw Szwed
  • Deputy Science Minister Professor Łukasz Szumowski