Poland ready to offer David Cameron EU welfare deal in exchange for Nato bases
Polish Foreign Minister says opposition to British welfare plans
could be softened with deal over Nato bases
Witold Waszczykowski said a deal could be struck with Britain
over welfare reform Photo: AFP/Getty
by Matthew Holehouse in Brussels
7:13PM GMT 03 Jan 2016

Poland is ready to drop its fierce opposition to David Cameron's welfare plans if he supports a call to permanently base Nato troops in the country.

In a potentially significant breakthrough for the British government, Witold Waszczykowski, the Polish foreign minister, said he is “of course” willing to consider a bargain over a proposed ban on European migrants claiming in-work benefits.
In exchange, Poland wants Britain to back the permanent basing of Nato troops in the country to deter Russian aggression.
The issue will be discussed at a Nato summit in Warsaw in July.
Prime Minister David Cameron meets his Polish counterpart
Ewa Kopacz in Warsaw Photo: GETTY
"It would be very difficult for us to accept any discrimination," Mr Waszczykowski said. "Unless Britain helped us really effectively with regard to the Polish defense ambitions at the summit in Warsaw."
Asked by Reuters if Mr Cameron could offer something to soften opposition to the welfare plans, he said: "Of course. Britain could offer something to Poland in terms of international security."
"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.”
Poland was the earliest and loudest critic of Mr Cameron’s plans to deny EU migrants in-work benefits for four years, repeatedly insisting that the plans are discriminatory and illegal under the European treaties. There are some 700,000 Poles in Britain.
The Prime Minister was publicly rebuffed after meeting Beata Szydlo, his Polish counterpart, last month, while Mr Waszczykowski told the Telegraph there could be "no negotiations" over an issue that would "humiliate" his government.
Personally, I still use NATO.
The Russians 'playing this region' makes you question their commitment to their membership of U.N., and I wonder if the population of Kraków will be more au fait than those of the Inner German Border? Can I be the Anglo-Polski Liaison Officer this time around?
My somewhat greyer hair would give me that sort of Lech Walęsa 'solidarity' and gravitas one aspires to in the field, and could even earn me more than the admittedly gratifying accusations that were given in a 'Und sind Sie Deutsch?' I received, before being accused of being part of an oppressive occupation.
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