Remarks by Vice President Harris and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland Before Bilateral Meeting
Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Good afternoon. Mr. Prime Minister, welcome to Washington, D.C. It is very good to see you.
This is our fourth substantive discussion over the course of the last couple of years. And it is my great pleasure to host you here at the White House and to continue the conversation that you and I started quite some time ago.
When we first spoke over a year ago, it was to coordinate our respective responses after Russia launched its unprovoked attack on Ukraine. I have since traveled to Warsaw in March of 2022, where you graciously hosted me, and we demonstrated to the world the strength of our alliance in the face of Russia’s aggression.
While there, it was also my honor to meet with President Duda, to meet with Polish and American troops who are working together and — and working to defend NATO’s eastern flank.
I also, while I was there, had the opportunity to meet with refugees who are in Poland thanks to the gracious welcome that they have received by the Polish people. And I met with them there to talk about the concerns, of course, that they have — having had to flee their home country.
Again, you and I spoke last September to build on these meetings and to discuss cooperation on European energy security, after which my na- — my national security advisor, who is here behind some of these cameras, traveled to Warsaw on my behalf to follow up on the conversation that you and I had.
And then, since, of course, my trip to Warsaw, President Joe Biden has traveled twice to your country. And my husband, the Second Gentleman, traveled to Krakow earlier this year to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day at Auschwitz, which was, of course, an historic visit that was incredibly meaningful to him personally, as it was for millions of Jewish Americans.
These visits, Mr. Prime Minister, and meetings reaffirm the very strong alliance between the United States and Poland.
And I might say that our — the strength of our relationship has only increased over the last couple of years, to the great pleasure of the American people.
Poland is a valued ally, a partner, and a friend, and we have an enduring relationship based on shared priorities and democratic values.
So today is a continuation of the conversation that you and I started some time ago, and I look forward to strengthening and continuing to strengthen the relationship between our two nations.
PRIME MINISTER MORAWIECKI: Thank you.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Welcome.
PRIME MINISTER MORAWIECKI: Thank you. Thanks for having me, Madam Vice President. You’ve presented the history of our meetings, so I will jump onto the — on the point of what we are going to discuss.
Well, like it is said that in politics there are no friendships, only interests. But I — I think that there is more than only interests between the United States and — and Poland.
Warsaw and Washington are two poles of Western civilization and the current situation in Ukraine. And not only this, we had a brief chat about Africa just before this meeting. And it’s so visible to me, so clear to me that we have to work hand in glove in many different regions all over the world.
There are no nations that love freedom as much as Poles and Americans, and this unites us as well. And today, we stand together in defense of the freedom of the Ukrainian people. Many Americans may be asking themselves why Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is so important for America as well, because it is important — it’s critically important for Europe. That’s — that’s clear.
But why also for America? The answer is: Russia’s attack on Ukraine is only the beginning. The consequences of this war have already reached the USA. I know that, as in Poland, many American families suffer inflation — post-pandemic, post-energy crisis — and, as we call it, “Putinflation” — inflation triggered by Russian attack on Ukraine.
And after the fall of communism, Russia lay in wait for nearly three decades. But the resurgence of Russian imperialism is a harbinger — harbinger of a new Cold War. If we do not defend Ukraine, we risk a global conflict, global crisis of difficult-to-imagine proportions.
Putin will not stop in Ukraine. I’m absolutely sure about that. This is why all three nations must unite and stop Russia before it is too late.
Old Europe believed in an agreement with Russia, and old Europe failed. But there is a new Europe — Europe that remembers what Russian communism was. And Poland is the leader of this new Europe.
Poland wants to become a bedrock of European security, and we are on the right track. Poland increases defense spending this year even up to 4 percent of GDP, which was going to be one of the highest percentage expenditures — percentagewise expenditures amongst NATO countries.
Poland buys also new Abrams tanks, F- — F-35 combat aircrafts, HIMARS multi-launch rocket systems from the United States. And we are very pleased with that. We are very happy with that because we want our defense systems to be interoperational as much as possible with — with yours as well. It’s — it’s very important.
Poland wants to build the strongest army in Europe. That is why we want to cooperate with the most advanced defense industry in the world, which is the American industry. And Poland believes that only a strong transatlantic alliance is the answer to this specter of imperialism, colonialism, and nationalism — and all imperialism, not only Russia.
Some European politicians, betrayed by the Russian bear, seek a deal with others, but this is the way of dividing the West. We have to protect our nations from Russian propaganda. We have to protect against infiltration.
We recently were able to break up a Russian spy network. They are very active all over Europe, and the Russian propaganda is enormous.
Some predict the end of Western civilization. And it is in our power to defend our civilization. There is one condition: We must stay united. We don’t want and we don’t need any kind of war. And we work towards peace and development and prosperity. And this what the geopolitical game is about.
If we lose, the next generation — generations of Poles and Americans will grow up in much more difficult conditions. That is why I would like to talk to Madam Vice President about strengthening our relations — not only the military ones, but also political and economic relations.
And I want to thank you personally, Madam Vice President, the — the entire American government, administration, President Biden, of course, and the entire American nation for supporting Europe so strongly and for staying united without — with us all.
I can only say that just like in the times of communism, America has once again become a source of hope for free Europe. The relations between Poland and the U.S. are the best in the history, but no one said we had reached our peak.
I believe that the war in Ukraine is not only the beginning of the end of Russian imperialism but, above all, the beginning of the renaissance of transatlantic community.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. And I’ll add, if I may, to emphasize the point about the relationship as it relates to security: We have been very clear — and the President has been very clear with President Duda as well — that the United States’ commitment to our NATO Allies is ironclad. And the commitment of the United States has resulted in — in fact, in increasing the number of troops, as you know —
PRIME MINISTER MORAWIECKI: Yes.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: — that we have sent to Poland.
In fact, we have created a new permanent army headquarters because of that. And so, I will mention that.
And then you mentioned the importance of prosperity and security as it relates to, for example, energy security. That is something you and I have discussed many times, and it will be the subject of our conversation today. With the goal, as you and I have discussed, of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and emerging economies —
PRIME MINISTER MORAWIECKI: And Russian fossil fuels but all fossil fuels. Yes.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Exactly right. Exactly right.
So I’m looking forward to it. And thank you again. Welcome.
PRIME MINISTER MORAWIECKI: Thank you.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you, all.