A Polish deputy foreign minister has welcomed comments by Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, conceding that the EU should have listened to Poland about the threat posed by Russia.
“I am glad that there is reflection and acceptance that if the voice of Poland – which warned of a threat posed by the Russian Federation and which called on the EU not to carry out energy projects that made Europe dependent on Russia – was heard in the past, we would be in a completely different situation today,” Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek said on Thursday.
The deputy minister was referring to the annual address delivered by Von der Leyen in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
She said that the European Union had learned a lesson from this war and that it should have listened to Poland, the Baltic States and Central and Eastern European countries that had for years been warning that Putin would not come to a stop.
Szynkowski vel Sek said this was: “Better late than never.”
He added that this reflection should be followed by the EU releasing pandemic recovery funds, now blocked because of a dispute over the rule of law in Poland.
“Poland has opened its door to a huge number of war refugees from Ukraine and has been sending military assistance to the country,” he said, adding that this aid required significant financing by Poland.
“Poland should not be punished, no political sanctions should be imposed on this country, and no funds from the National Recovery programme should be blocked,” he said.
According to Szynkowski vel Sek, “actions should now follow the words of recognition for our country.”
“I would like these words of recognition to be followed by concrete funds which will help Poland, which is a frontline country in a difficult situation […] We only have words now” the minister said.