On his way to the German city of Hamburg to attend a gathering of world leaders, US President Donald Trump stopped in Poland – a visit that was welcomed by the country’s conservative, nationalist government.
Arriving late on July 5, Trump descended onto a red carpet with First Lady Melania Trump. The couple was greeted by US Ambassador to Poland Paul Jones and Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, as well as Minister of State Krzysktof Szczerski.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Trump’s arrival, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who leads the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), said others in Europe are envious of the visit, mentioning Britain in particular.
As reported by the BBC, US presidents are guaranteed a friendly reception in Poland. Trump’s arrival was no exception.
According to the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the ruling party was organising to bus 50 people per parliamentarian in order to guarantee a friendly crowd of thousands for Trump’s speech in Warsaw’s symbolic Krasinski Square on July 6. The square is home to a monument commemorating the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis.
“Unless they do something wrong, pretty much every American president is very popular and will get a warm welcome,” Professor Aleks Szczerbiak, an expert on Polish politics at the University of Sussex, told the BBC.
Meanwhile, both Poland’s political leaders and Trump see themselves as being at the vanguard of a populist movement against liberal elites who have dominated politics in the West in recent years.
“Both Kaczynski and Trump perceive themselves as those who can stop this liberal-left political correctness offensive in the world,” Michal Szuldrzynski, a columnist for Rzeczpospolita, an influential centre-right newspaper, explained to the BBC.
“Paradoxically, the more you criticise Mr Trump and the more you criticise Mr Kaczynski, the more they feel they are right,” he added.
According to media reports, Trump is expected to praise Poland for being one of only a handful of Nato members to meet the alliance’s military spending target of 2% of GDP.
Trump will also have a chance to address the leaders of the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea countries during the Three Seas Summit, a Polish and Croatian initiative. It’s also a chance for Poland to shine as a kind of regional leader outside the EU.
According to the BBC, energy is another key topic. The Polish government is trying to become less energy-dependent on Russia and last month the first ever US liquefied natural gas shipment arrived.
This is a win-win situation for Trump since the White House wants to sell more US gas overseas. It will likely be an issue he will raise at the Three Seas Summit.