2011, 27-28 May Barack Obama in Poland

“Poland is one of Americas closest allies”

Economic and defence cooperation, energy safety, the visa problem, the emergence of the innovation fund and the situation in Belarus – were the main subjects discussed during Prime Minister Donald Tusk and US President Barack Obama’s press conference.

“Poland is one of the closest and strongest US allies,” the US leader remarked. “You are one of the European leaders and a milestone of prosperity and progress in Europe,” he added remarking that the USA wants to develop economic relations with Poland. “Your economy is the only one in Europe which avoided the recession during the time of crisis. It has an enormous economic development potential,” he stressed. Barack Obama said that a Polish-American round table for public and private sector leaders concerning economic development will be organised this autumn.
Donald Tusk said that we were facing in a breakthrough in the field of energy. “It is not a joke anymore. We are talking about the technological cooperation, co-investment and political cooperation of both states, one of which is an absolute leader as far as the resources of shale gas is concerned,” he stressed. “That is why I received with great satisfaction Mr President’s words that in the United States cooperation is seriously considered,” he added. Donald Tusk confirmed Poland’s full determination for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. “For us, the Americans will be exceptionally valuable partners as an experienced country of goodwill,” remarked Donald Tusk.
The US president expressed his support for the draft of changes in the law, which would solve the visa problem in a way satisfactory for Poland. “The problem lies in the currently binding legal regulations,” Barrack Obama remarked. Referring to the visa problem, the head of the Polish government said that an increasing number of Polish people earn enough to afford shopping at the famous American Fifth Avenue. “This means that it is in the interest of the United States that as many Poles as possible could, in the possibly simplest way, do shopping not only on the Fifth Avenue but in the United States at large, because it is our common business,” stressed Donald Tusk.

The US president and the Polish prime minister also discussed the question of military cooperation between the two countries. Donald Tusk remarked that the memorandum on the permanent presence of US air force in Poland was becoming a fact. He thanked the US president for the confirmation of the readiness of finalising this project. “The words I heard today give us the feeling that we are working together also in favour of Polish security. The words that NATO was established in order to defend NATO are very binding and I would like to thank for them,” the Polish prime minister stressed.

The US president said there were no new or old NATO members – there are just NATO members. He remarked that the North Atlantic Alliance operates invariably according to the simple principle: We support and defend ourselves mutually. Barack Obama assured that Poland would be engaged in anti-missile defence. “We shall always stand beside Poland. We shall be able to oppose common threat,” he stressed.

The head of Polish government referred to the question of the Polish-American Enterprise Fund established by the US Congress twenty years ago. The Fund was aimed at supporting the building of market economy in Poland. Donald Tusk informed that he discussed a new initiative with the US president – the innovation fund, which would concern new technologies, among other things. “This is an idea that was born during our conversation. We both hope it will be continued – such an innovation fund, which here in Poland will yield effects in favour of modernisation, new technologies and human capital,” said the prime minister.

Both politicians also discussed the situation in Belarus. Barack Obama remarked that the USA and Poland cooperate in favour of building a civic society there. The US president also said that his country, together with Poland and other European states would exert pressure on Belarus authorities. Barack Obama reminded that, after the latest presidential elections, Aleksander Lukashenka’s competitors found themselves imprisoned, including journalists, one of them Polish. Donald Tusk said that the views of Poland and of the United States on the Belarus issue were one hundred percent convergent. “There is no future for such dictatorships as represented by Lukashenka in Belarus today,” said the head of the Polish government.