Armed Forces

Siemoniak: We want Bundeswehr to be strong and active

  • Fot. st.szer. Patryk Szymaniec/17WBZ
    Fot. st.szer. Patryk Szymaniec/17WBZ

Polish Minister of Defence, Tomasz Siemoniak, during his visit in Germany  has noted the need of development of capability of the German Armed Forces, also within the scope of conventional activities related to the collective defence. He emphasised the fact that Berlin should get involved in the field of security. In his interview for RMF FM radio station, Polish Minister of Defence also mentioned the proceedings related to acquisition of helicopters for the Polish Army, and activity of the Russian Aviation within the Baltic’s area.

During his speech which took place during the Bundeswehr’s Conference in Germany, deputy prime minister Siemoniak stated that in the current circumstances, increase in the defence spending is needed,  inter alia, in order to develop the operational capabilities which may be potentially required in a scenario of conventional conflict. Minister of Defence also expressed his concern, claiming that the German authorities should get involved in solving security- and defence-related problems. 

We should remember about the need of developing capabilities in the traditional sense of this word. It is definitely too early to move tanks, assault helicopters, artillery or air defence systems to the museums. We need all of these measures for defending our territories and also to provide proper response to the challenges way beyond our borders. This was shown during the NATO operation in the Afghan theatre. These capabilities cannot be spared in spite of the budget cuts.

Tomasz Siemoniak during the Bundeswehr briefing in Berlin

 Polish Minister of Defence also referred himself to the arrangements made during the NATO summit in Wales, including creation of so called “spearhead” quick reaction force and deploying permanent “elements of command and control system” which would be used to lead the units present in the Mid-Eastern Europe, and the “spearhead” as well, in a rotational manner. He also hoped that the Germans will get involved in the NATO activities, also within the territory of Poland. During his in Berlin, Minister of Defence has signed a memorandum, concerning the cooperation between Polish and German Armies.

We count on our German ally. We would like to work together in a way, which would make it possible for the NATO Ministers of Defence to make arrangements, in February next year, in Brussels, arrangements which would be the best for the alliance. We also hope that you will be actively participating in implementation of these solutions. We would like to thank you for the solidarity you have shown in the light of escalating Ukrainian crisis. We do hope that the German forces will still take part in trainings and exercises which are organised in Poland. We also hope that Germany will be present within the international structures and that it will take part in other multinational and other initiatives aiming at reinforcement of the NATO eastern flank.

Tomasz Siemoniak during the Bundeswehr briefing in Berlin

Tomasz Siemoniak also reminded the participants, within the context of changes of the defence budgets in the European countries, that the Russian Federation has doubled its defence expenditure since 2008, and next year Putin plans to increase the nominal spending by yet another 33%. Polish Minister of Defence stated that Poland is willing to increase its defence spending up to 2% of GDP, and realise a wide armed forces modernisation programme.  Deputy Prime Minister Siemoniak stressed the fact that nowadays threats caused by ISIS or situation in the northern part of Africa are of no less importance. In his opinion,  joint effort within the area of security is needed, especially taking into the account the wide spectrum of threats present in the current geo-political context.

In his interview for the RMF FM radio Siemoniak also referred himself to the information regarding the bad conditions of the German Armed Forces, stating that Bundeswehr is considered to be “one of the strongest armies in Europe”. As Russian Air Force intensifies its activity in the Baltic area, Tomasz Siemoniak stated that no clear assessment can be made regarding the reason for that increased activity, but NATO is properly prepared to act against the operations carried out by the VVS.

When it comes to the tender regarding the purchase of the multi-role helicopters, and the stance of the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and PZL Mielec consortium, which threatened that it will withdraw its offer, Minister of Defence stated that the bidders should make all the effort needed to comply with the MoD’s and Armed Forces requirements. He also said that the plan of reinforcing the Polish safety, which is to be disclosed in November, “substantial change in the formula” according to which the National Reserve Forces function is to be expected.