Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz has unveiled plans to increase defense spending from 1.95 percent to 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2016. The funds will be used to acquire new weapons and military equipment, Kopacz said in her inaugural speech at the Polish parliament Wednesday.
“My government will provide security for Poland and Poles. To achieve this goal, we will increase our defense expenditure starting in 2016,” Kopacz said. The planned spending hike will generate an estimated 800 million zloty (US $270 million) for military procurement in 2016, according to the prime minister. In 2014, Poland is aiming to spend some 32 billion zloty on national defense.
“By modernizing our military, we will build up the innovative potential of the Polish defense industry,” Kopacz said.
In her inaugural speech, the prime minister also referred to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, in which her country has been supporting the government in Kiev against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
“For Poland, it is key that the fighting ceases in Ukraine,” Kopacz said.
Kopacz, who previously served as the speaker of the lower chamber of Poland’s parliament, is replacing Donald Tusk, who was chosen by EU leaders to head the European Council.