News Foreign policy Ministry Travel to Poland
10 March 2017
On 9 March the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw hosted the inaugural edition of the Belvedere Polish-British Forum that aims to infuse new dynamics into cooperation between non-governmental, expert and Polish community groups in order to strengthen relations between the Polish and British societies. The discussion at the Forum focused on the future of Polish-British relations in a changing world, the future of entrepreneurship and free trade, contacts between the societies of the two countries, education and innovation.
The chief of Polish diplomacy participated in the Forum’s closing session which presented recommendations for future Polish-British cooperation. “The governments of Poland and the United Kingdom have forged closer strategic cooperation, and now the time has come for you to get involved in strengthening our relations,” said Minister Waszczykowski at the conclusion of the debate, addressing the participants of the first edition of the Forum who represented Polish and British civil societies.
“Great Britain will continue to be a great and important European country, it will be a very important NATO member and it is obvious that cooperation with the UK lies in our interest,” stressed Vice-President of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki, the Polish co-chairman of the Forum’s Steering Committee during the opening session. “Irrespective of what the British think about the European Union, we have never had any doubts that our country is an element of a bigger international puzzle and that it has obligations which stem from this,” added Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary in Conservative governments.
Interest in the first edition of the Forum has been enormous, bringing together over 120 Polish and British representatives of the world of politics, business, media, science and NGOs.
Thursday’s meeting was preceded by an informal dinner whose honorary guests were Minister Witold Waszczykowski and Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the British Foreign Office. In his speech, Minister Waszczykowski stressed that “the continuation of the strategic partnership between our two countries should not be considered in the context of Brexit, since it stems from a long tradition of friendship and cooperation going beyond cooperation in the EU, as well as from strong economic and social ties and the community of shared values.”
The concept of the Belvedere Polish-British Forum was developed in the first half of 2016 and was accepted by the governments of Poland and Great Britain during the first ever Polish-British Intergovernmental Consultations in London in November 2016. Its will hold meetings once a year, alternatively in Poland and the UK. The Steering Committee will deal with programme and substantial issues. Its members are Polish and British representatives of different areas of social life who are engaged in bilateral cooperation.
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