by Arkady Rzegocki
Poland has long been an engaged and committed member of international alliances. We are an active contributor as well as policy and project initiator. This year, 2019, is especially important to us. It marks 20 years since we joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and 15 years since we joined the European Union (EU).
NATO and the EU are unquestionably two of the most important international organisations that Poland is a member of. Accession to the European Union on May 1, 2004, was one of the most significant moments in modern Polish history. We looked forward to the security and prosperity the union would offer; the EU labour market opened to Polish workers, with the UK and Ireland becoming the first countries to open their doors as soon as we joined.
But we take also part in, and lead, many other important regional forums and initiatives. In our immediate neighbourhood, the Visegrád Four (V4), a political alliance comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, was created to advance military, cultural, economic, and energy cooperation in the region. With five Polish presidencies so far, we underpinned Poland’s high level of involvement and active participation. The prominent position of the V4 within the EU has allowed us to foster a community of interests at the European level. This has been of particular significance with regard to issues such as the future of the EU, its needed reforms, Brexit and the challenges caused by migration.
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