Organisers: Prof Alister Miskimmon, Royal Holloway, University London and Prof Kerry
Longhurst, Collegium Civitas
Rationale and Context
In a visit to Warsaw in February 2016, UK Prime Minister David Cameron called for a ‘full strategic partnership with Poland”, he added “I want to make a success of the vital NATO summit here in July and work to strengthen the eastern flank of the alliance (…) standing up to Russian aggression”. The Polish government also recognises the vital role the UK plays in European defence and has welcomed Britain’s considerable endeavours to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. Ministers from both countries continue to reaffirm the centrality of NATO for their security and defence policies and also highlight the need for adapting the Alliance for new and future threats, whilst at the same time not losing its core function as a territorial defence organisation. Beyond, security and defence, there are palpable efforts from both sides being made to deepen bilateral relations on political, economic and societal levels, as illustrated by the establishment of the Belvedere Forum.
These facts notwithstanding, a multitude of uncertainties and challenges prevail. BREXIT has brought to the fore manifold questions regarding British-Polish relations in general, as well as the former’s future role in European and Transatlantic security. Meanwhile, Poland, under the Law and Justice government has seemingly cast itself in the role of the EU’s problem child by challenging European norms and values. Russia continues to be a force of destabilisation and revisionism, prompting Poland and most of its regional neighbours to seek a beefing-up of NATO’s physical presence from the Baltic down to the Black Sea. Furthermore, the ramifications of the Trump Presidency for the evolution of NATO and wider Trans-Atlantic relations remain hard to estimate and predict.
It is against this backdrop that the seminar will facilitate a discussion on British and Polish perspectives on security and defence policy within the framework of the evolution of NATO in an uncertain security environment. A key objective will be to assess areas of convergence and divergence between the two countries and how these might play out over time. The seminar is part of a research project, which is led by Alister Miskimmon and Kerry Longhurst.
12:00 Arrival – Sandwich lunch
13:00 Introduction and Welcome – Alister Miskimmon
13:15 Panel 1: Developments in Defence and Security Policy in UK and Poland
14:15 Panel 2: Russian Influence in Eastern and Central Europe – UK and Polish Perspectives
Ben O’Loughlin and Alister Miskimmon
15:45 Panel 3: Polish and British Perspective on Regional Threats and Challenges – Syria, Terrorism, Migration
16:45 Summing up and Next Steps – Kerry Longhurst
17:00 Drinks then Dinner