Key threats and challenges to European security was the focus of meeting of Northern Group Ministers from 12 European countries in Warsaw.
Press Release, Whitehall, 22 May 2023: Ministers and representatives from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK met in Warsaw, Poland today for the Northern Group Ministers meeting. Currently chaired by Poland, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace attended the meeting hosted by Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak in in Legionowo, near Warsaw.
The threats and challenges to European security were discussed during the meeting. All partners agreed that Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has seriously changed the security environment and that Russia’s aggressive posture constitutes a direct threat to the security, stability and the prosperity of the Euro-Atlantic area. Northern Group members share a common view that providing further military assistance to Ukraine to support its defence against Russia’s brutal aggression is crucial.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Defence partnerships like the Northern Group are vital to tackle shared threats. As like-minded nations we are determined to continue our support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, for as long as it takes.
“It was a pleasure to meet again with my friend and close defence partner Mariusz Błaszczak. For over 150 years we have enjoyed a close defence alliance with Poland and our ongoing cooperation is supporting security and stability across Europe.”
NATO Vilnius Summit was also discussed during the meeting, including the implementation of decisions agreed during the Madrid Summit in 2022. Northern Group members agreed that the Vilnius Summit should enhance regional security by further strengthening of Allied deterrence and defence posture.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also held a bilateral meeting with his counterpart Mariusz Błaszczak during the meeting. It is less than a month since Ben Wallace was last in Poland, invited as a guest to the Bucharest 9 meeting. Prior to that the Ministers met in October 2022 where they signed an Air Defence Complex Weapons Memorandum of Understanding MOU and the Arrowhead-140 Statement of Intent.
The Air Defence MOU enables the UK and Poland to cooperate in the development and manufacture of current and future complex weapons, further strengthening the relationship built through the Defence and Security Cooperation Treaty (2017) and deepening the interoperability of our Armed Forces. The Arrowhead-140 Statement of Intent provides a framework for our governments to collaborate on the procurement and operation of three Arrowhead-140 frigates. The Polish Frigates will be a variant of the Arrowhead-140.
At the end of April, a major £1.9 billion export agreement was signed by the UK and Poland. The contract with UK firm MBDA for a British-designed air defence system is a major boost for Euro-Atlantic security and will support hundreds of highly skilled jobs across the UK. It is one of the largest deals of its kind in NATO and will see the UK equip 22 Polish air defence batteries with sophisticated UK Common Anti-Air Modular Missiles (CAMMs) and launchers.
These announcements are just the latest recent collaboration between our two countries aimed at helping Poland bolster its armed forces to deter aggression, and are in addition to the UK’s deployment of the Sky Sabre air defence system to Poland.