Date: 22 April 2022 Author: Professor Piotr Bajda, Ph.D.
“The Foreign Policy of the Republic of Poland and the Czech Republic towards Russia” – key proposals
Before discussing the Polish and Czech foreign policy toward the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is vital to stress the importance of bilateral ties between the governments in Warsaw and Prague. There are plenty of paradoxes in Polish-Czech relations––some polls find that both nations tend to like one another and are strategic economic partners. On the other hand, though, the authorities in Poland and the Czech Republic are unable to elevate their relations to the strategic level. No political circle in Poland and the Czech Republic is interested in forging long-lasting cooperation and strengthening relations, which was particularly noticeable in an unneeded dispute over the Turów open-pit coal mine.
The war in Ukraine compelled the two countries to react to the new real. Poland and the Czech Republic took a similar stance on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and a wave of Ukrainian refugees. Poles spoke highly of massive support Czech-based NGOs threw for Ukrainian people that consisted in arranging housing for refugees and fulfilling their needs. In addition, Poland and the Czech Republic made an unwavering commitment to the Ukrainian military by providing military supplies while urging other countries to follow suit. Polish news outlets praised notably the action taken by Jana Černochová, the Czech defense minister. The third issue is deepened political ties in the face of Russian aggression. On March 15, the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia traveled to war-torn Kyiv in a show of courageous solidarity with the Ukrainians.
Through joint efforts and an alike definition of threats, Poland and the Czech Republic can both mend their ties and upgrade them to the strategic level. The right occasion will be the forthcoming Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union later this year. Poland should make an effort to find an ally in the Czech Republic to help Warsaw tackle the dispute with the European Commission. If no solution is produced, it will be not possible to occupy a vital role in supporting Ukraine’s ambitions to join the European Union. Both Poland and the Czech Republic are likely to serve a key role, which may reinforce bilateral cooperation between these two countries.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the official positions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.
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