Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
February 12, 2019
• For decades, the United States stood with Poles who were fighting for their political, economic, religious, and other human rights, just as we stand together today, as Allies. Thirty years ago, the people of Poland emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, and reclaimed their sovereignty and freedom. After resisting Soviet domination, Poland chose to return to its Western path, joining NATO and the European Union.
• This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Poland, and the 20th anniversary of Poland’s accession to NATO.
• Our transatlantic alliance has provided a foundation for Poland to prosper over the last 30 years. As we look at the next 30 years, we must remain steadfast in jointly tackling new challenges, including from Russia and China.
RENEWING OUR COMMITMENTS AND REINVESTING IN SHARED SECURITY
• The United States’ commitment to NATO and our Allies in Europe remains ironclad. Poland has been a steadfast NATO Ally since joining the alliance in 1999, and Polish forces have served honorably in NATO missions all over the world. Poland now hosts a NATO Enhanced Forward Presence battle group led by U.S. troops to deter aggression on NATO’s eastern flank.
• We expect all Allies to shoulder their fair share of our collective defense responsibilities by investing adequately in their own defense, and by meeting their share of the NATO alliance’s capability needs. Among our Allies, Poland deserves special recognition for already meeting NATO’s defense investment targets.
• In September 2018, President Trump and President Duda signed a Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership, which emphasizes that the United States and Poland will continue to prioritize enhanced co-operation to deepen our security relationship.
• Poland has signed agreements to invest in significant new purchases of NATO-compatible military equipment, which provides economic benefits to U.S. and Polish companies, and to the workers who will produce them.
EXPANDING MUTUAL PROSPERITY AND DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS
• We will treat allies as allies, and expect them to act in keeping with their commitments as allies. As members of NATO, the OSCE, and other transatlantic institutions, our governments have pledged to work tirelessly to ensure the freedoms of our citizens.
• A free media, independent judiciary, and strong civil society are three key bulwarks of a healthy democracy. On this trip, the State Department is announcing new initiatives to strengthen U.S. engagement in the Central Europe region.
o Across Central Europe, we are increasing U.S. support to fight corruption, including law enforcement cooperation and support for investigative journalism to study the intersection between regional corruption and Russian and Chinese influence.
o We will strengthen support for local independent media in all four Visegrad states, with an emphasis on creating new exchanges to strengthen workforce skills and improve business practices, so that regional media are not dependent on government subsidies.
o The United States also stands by principles of separation of powers and judicial independence.
Polish-American cultural ties are deep and strong, and we intend to deepen these ties.
• The U.S.-Poland Fulbright Program – the largest and longest running of any academic exchange program in Central Europe – celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
• The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program provides around 30 scholarships a year for Polish high school students to study in America and live with an American family.
• Poland enjoys one of the most dynamic economies in Europe, and the United States values the strong trade and business ties we share. In 2018, bilateral trade in goods and services between the United States and Poland reached approximately $19.0 billion.
• The United States is also pursuing negotiations to strengthen our trade relationships with the European Union, which would benefit Poland as a member. The economic relationship between the United States and the European Union is the largest in the world, accounting for $1 trillion in annual, bilateral goods, and services trade.
• The United States supports our European allies in their efforts to achieve energy security through the ability to buy energy on fair market terms, reducing the likelihood any one energy supplier can exert political pressure. Both of our countries are committed to strengthening security by ensuring energy diversification for Poland, and more broadly for Europe as a whole.
o Like Poland, the United States continues to oppose strongly the implementation of Russia’s proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
o We congratulate Poland for its impressive efforts to expand and diversify its sources of energy, including by investing in infrastructure such as a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in northwestern Poland, where the first U.S. shipment arrived in June 2017. There is enormous potential for greater energy cooperation between Poland and the United States, including in renewables and nuclear power.