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Poland tells UK 'You can cut migrant benefits – if you give us a Nato base'

Witold Waszczykowski and David CameronGETTY IMAGES

Witold Waszczykowski has told David Cameron he’ll accept a benefits deal if Poland gets a Nato base

Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski says he would consider a deal to stop European migrants claiming British in-work benefits if Nato agrees to station troops in Poland.

Mr Waszczykowski said he would support a deal if “Britain could offer something to Poland in terms of international security”.

David Cameron and Beata SzydloGETTY IMAGES

David Cameron couldn’t make a deal with Polish PM Beata Szydlo last month

We still consider ourselves a second-class NATO member-state

Witold Waszczykowski

He said: “We still consider ourselves a second-class NATO member-state, because in central Europe there aren’t, aside from a token presence, any significant allied forces or defence installations, which gives the Russians an excuse to play this region.

“Britain could support our expectations related to an allied military presence on Polish territory.”


Poland wants a Nato base

Mr Cameron left Warsaw empty-handed last month after a visit to discuss his plans, with Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo saying further talks were needed.

Ms Szydlo’s new conservative government, however, is keen to score a diplomatic victory at a summit of the NATO military alliance due to be held in Warsaw in July.

In 2014, Poland’s then foreign minister Rodislaw Sikorski said he wanted the alliance to station two NATO heavy brigades – typically between 3,000 and 5,000 troops – on Polish soil in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, where Moscow denies it is actively assisting pro-Russian rebels.


The EU Commission building

The alliance is reluctant to permanently station troops in central Europe, with some states wary of violating a 1997 NATO-Russia agreement on the size of forces the alliance can have in former Warsaw Pact countries, of which Poland is one.

Moscow would almost certainly regard the establishment of a standing NATO presence on its borders as a hostile act.

Some western European allies have also been sceptical about basing large numbers of troops and equipment in Poland at a time when defence budgets are tight and question the military logic of tying down large numbers of troops in one place.

There are around 70,000 Polish people in the UK, and it is the Polish government which has been the most critical of Mr Cameron’s proposals to stop EU migrants getting in-work benefits for four years, claiming they are discriminatory.

The benefits deal is one of a number of reform proposals Mr Cameron wants to get before the referendum on Britain’s EU membership, which will be held by the end of 2017.

via : Daily Express :: Politics Feed