Britain’s impending withdrawal from the European Union poses a number of challenges on both sides of the Channel, but the EU and the UK need each other on post-Brexit security, the three foreign ministers said in an article published by the Politico news service.
Poland’s Jacek Czaputowicz, Lithuania’s Linas Linkevičius, and Romania’s Teodor Meleșcanu said in the article that Brexit would leave a gaping hole in Europe’s foreign policy and that, without Britain, the EU’s position on the global stage might weaken, making it more vulnerable to external threats.
They argued that Britain, “in its capacity as a UN Security Council member, a nuclear power and a guarantor of approximately one-fourth of European defense capabilities — is one of the key pillars of the EU’s external action.”
“Fortunately, it’s not too late to avoid much of the damage,” the three foreign ministers said in their article.
They added that the UK’s “clearly stated commitment to Europe’s security, along with its weight and position within the European and Euro-Atlantic family, gives reason to believe that the EU and the UK can reinforce each other in defense and work together to defend joint European interests and values.”
According to Czaputowicz, Linkevičius and Meleșcanu, “close post-Brexit cooperation will be especially vital in the EU’s eastern and southern neighbourhood, in the Western Balkans and in a common policy toward Russia.”
They said: “Brussels should be ready to call on the UK to maintain close cooperation in order to minimize costs and maximize effects … The EU will not find a partner closer than London. We share common values and a number of common interests. We are natural allies. We need one another to face rising challenges, to defend a rules-based world order and to secure a better future for next generations.”
'Strategic partnership' between Poland and Britain
Poland and Britain in June discussed ways of enhancing their “strategic foreign, defence and security partnership” during annual talks between senior government officials.
The Polish and British foreign and defence ministers at the time met near Warsaw to debate security, bilateral relations and the UK's post-Brexit ties with the European Union, according to the Polish foreign ministry.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said in December that the UK was “building a strategic partnership with Poland from a base of shared history and deep ties of friendship that will outlast our exit” from the European Union.
The British leader in March met members of the Polish community in the UK for talks ahead of Brexit, according to reports.
A record 1.02 million Poles lived in Britain at the end of 2017, constituting the country's largest national minority, ahead of Romanians and citizens of Ireland and India, according to the UK Office for National Statistics.
Britain is expected to leave the 28-nation European Union in March next year.