A delegation from the UK Parliament visited Warsaw during the summer recess (21-24 July). The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland organised the trip.
MPs had the opportunity to strengthen their relations with Polish policymakers during the visit, for example, by visiting the Polish Parliament or learning how Poland and Britain are actively assisting Ukrainian refugees through conversations with the British Ambassador to Poland and the Royal Dragoon Guards.
Due to the difficult situation in Europe, particularly in Ukraine, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland (APPGP) organised a delegation of UK Parliamentarians to visit Poland and learn about the perspectives of Polish parliamentarians and other officials, as well as how the country has been affected by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. During their trip, the MPs met with Ukrainian refugees, aid organisations, British soldiers stationed in Poland, and other key interlocutors.
Furthermore, the visit aimed to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries through political and business discussions. The trip was joined by policymakers from the House of Lords, such as Lord Anderson of Swansea and Baroness Blackstone, as well as the House of Commons, Caroline Ansell MP, Felicity Buchan MP, Dan Carden MP, Nia Griffith MP, and Damien Moore MP.
A busy day in Poland, with everything from politics to history lessons
Right after landing in Poland, the APPGP delegation met with the representatives of the British Embassy in Poland, where they were greeted by HE Anna Clunes, the British Ambassador to Poland.
Following this, the delegation visited the Warsaw Uprising Museum. At the museum, the MPs learnt the history of one of the most important and tragic events of WWII, when Warsaw insurgents organised an attempt against German occupants.
Later, the British-Polish Chamber of Commerce hosted a reception where APPGP guests had the opportunity to meet Polish CEOs and board members from HSBC, British American Tobacco, Llyods, Clifford Chance, Diageo, Savills, Polish Investment and Trade Agency, and many others. Paweł Siwecki, CEO of BPCC, and Daniel Kawczynski MP, Chairman of APPGP, gave opening remarks.
Enthusiastic ovation at the Polish Parliament and talks on the war in Ukraine
On the second day, the British delegation met with Paweł Jabłoński, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the conflict in Ukraine. Both parties agreed on the importance of providing Ukraine with ongoing assistance. Paweł Jabłoński praised the United Kingdom for its assistance to Poland and Ukraine.
Following the meeting, the APPGP group was given a tour of the Polish Parliament by the Marshal of Sejm, HE Elżbieta Witek. During a parliamentary session, the Polish parliamentarians gave the British visitors a standing ovation. Later, a Friendship Group of Britain meeting was held, presided over by Radosław Fogiel.
The Parliament visit was followed by a meeting with the Royal Dragoon Guards and Royal Engineers, which explained the British support at the border of NATO’s Eastern flank. The magnitude of the response demonstrated Poland’s leadership in accepting Ukrainian refugees. The day concluded with a dinner with Foreign Office head Professor Arkady Rzegocki.
At the Ptak Warsaw Expo, the delegation met with Ukrainian refugees and various organisations supporting the humanitarian effort, such as the UNHCR and A21, which focuses on human trafficking. The support scale was enormous and showed that Poland is the leading country in accepting Ukrainian refugees. The day concluded with a dinner with Professor Arkady Rzegocki, who is the head of the Foreign Office.
British policymakers learn from Polish history
The third day in Poland began with a walk through Wilanów, which showcased a spectacular mix of Polish and Italian architecture. Wilanów Palace, which dates from 1805, has survived Poland’s partitions as well as both World Wars. It now serves as a reminder of the culture of the Polish state before the 18th-century misfortunes.
Just after that, the MPs went on a sightseeing tour of Warsaw’s Old Town. The APPGP guests were treated to a Chopin concert at the Royal Castle. Parliamentarians learned about Frédéric Chopin, one of Poland’s most famous composers. His piano pieces are widely regarded as the most important musical contributions of the Romantic era.
The MPs met with Artur Hofman, the Head of the Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland, and Joanna Hofman, the Ambassador of Poland to the Republic of Sweden, prior to their departure. The APPGP delegation had the opportunity to learn about Poland’s rich Jewish history thanks to Monika Krawczyk, the Head of the Jewish Historical Institute. The tour focused on the tragic events of WWII when Nazi Germans exterminated the majority of Poland’s Jewish population.
Pictures: Twitter @appgpoland
Author: Marta Kakol