Monday, December 11, 2023

Poland wants to make Europeans pay for its exceptional defense effort...

For several years, and even more so since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, the Polish authorities have increased the acquisition of major equipment for their armies. If 3 British Arrowhead frigates, there a thousand South Korean Panther battle tanks , or even American F-35As, Himars and Patriots. At the same time, Warsaw announced its intention to expand the format of its armies to reach 6 operational divisions , which is consistent with the volumes of equipment ordered, but also to increase its defense effort to an unequaled level in Europe. 4% of its Gross Domestic Product. For many Europeans, the Polish effort is admirable and even sometimes envied , and even contributes to influencing the direction of military programming in Western Europe. After all, if Poland fields 1,250 tanks and more than 1,100 modern mobile artillery systems , it is probably better for the British, French or Italians to develop other capabilities such as in the naval or air war domain.

However, the effort announced by PiS, the Law and Justice party of President Andrzej Duda and especially its founder, the obscure Jarosław Kaczyński, is not without raising numerous concerns and objections, notably from the Polish opposition, which has been arguing for many months that such an effort is incompatible with the country's public finances, and that it will either lead to a rapid increase in sovereign debt, or will have to be compensated by significant increases in debt. taxes. There was no doubt, for a somewhat objective observer, that these repeated announcements concerning the acquisition of modern military equipment were based as much on the threat that Russia once again poses to Eastern Europe, as on a purely electoral calculation by flattering the nationalist fiber of a large number of Polish voters. But it seems that the concerns of PiS opponents turned out to be perfectly well founded.

K9 Thunder Factory

Indeed, in an article in the Financial Times published yesterday, Secretary of State Marcin Prydacz gave the avenues chosen by the Polish authorities to finance this colossal investment which today exceeds €50 billion. On the one hand, it would be a question of turning to the markets, that is to say, in a more trivial way, of taking on debt. It is true that with a sovereign debt barely above 50% of GDP, and sustained growth, Poland has some room for maneuver in this area, and it would probably be inappropriate for Western European countries to criticize this decision, they who have a debt often higher than their own GDP. But this would be only part of the strategy pursued by President Duda. Indeed, it also intends to involve Europeans themselves.

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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