Flanders wants to revive relations with Poland under Tusk government

Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon wants to revive relations with Poland, a country he described as "a growing economy and a superpower in Central Europe" in Warsaw on Monday. 

Poland is an important partner for the region, Jambon said on the first day of his mission to Poland and Latvia. On Monday, he spoke to Wladyslaw Teofil Bartoszewski, the Polish state secretary for Foreign Affairs, and Adam Szlapka, the Polish minister for European Affairs.

"The new government led by Donald Tusk has the ambition to restore relations with Europe and other member states," he said.

Similar challenges

Jambon wants to use the momentum to bring Flanders to the table "as an interesting interlocutor" for further cooperation. He sees a strong parallel between the challenges facing Flanders and Poland, especially in terms of the transition to sustainable industry.

The energy challenge is "particularly great" in Poland, Jambon said, as 80 per cent of the country's energy still comes from coal. The Polish government is looking at possible ways of using renewable energy, including offshore wind power. Flanders can share its expertise in this area, Jambon said.

"The proximity of the war in Ukraine is felt in a different way here than it is at home"

During his visit to Warsaw, he also stressed Flemish solidarity with the country, which borders Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. 

"The proximity of the war in Ukraine is felt in a different way here than it is at home," said Jambon. "The call for a strong European defence industry is loud, as is the solidarity with the Ukrainians."

Belarusian threat

A briefing by the International Strategic Action Network for Security (iSANS), the Belarusian organisation that exposes crimes and human rights abuses committed by president Alexander Lukashenko's regime, also highlighted the threat from Belarus. 

iSANS initially operated only from Poland, but has since opened offices in Tallinn, Prague, Kyiv and Brussels. From there, Jambon said, exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya can keep the Belarusian cause high on the EU agenda.

On Tuesday, Jambon will travel to Riga, where he will be received by Latvian prime minister Evika Silina and the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Climate and Energy and Culture. He will also explore the development of ELWIND, a Latvian-Estonian offshore wind energy project.


#FlandersNewsService | Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon and Polish minister for European Affairs Adam Szlapka in Warsaw on 4 March 2024 © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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