Poland gave the go-ahead on February 22 to new legislation aiming to boost the country’s defence capabilities by enlarging the army from the current 100,000 people to 300,000 as well as earmarking more money for the modernisation of equipment.
The legislation, first mooted in October, is necessary in the context of the “increasingly difficult geopolitical situation in the region”, the office of the prime minister said in a statement.
Poland has been on high alert in recent weeks due to the Russian military build-up along Ukraine’s borders that eventually triggered a security crisis on February 21 after Moscow recognized the sovereignty of Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” – separatist puppet states backed by the Russian military.
In line with the proposed law, Poland plans to increase its defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2024, bringing forward an earlier deadline of 2030.
The plan is also to boost the number of regular servicemen to 250,000 and the so-called territorial defence – an auxiliary formation – to 50,000. That would make the Polish military one of Nato's largest.
Polish army is currently about 111,000 troops and the territorial defence is 32,000.
“Poland must have an armed force that will be able to repel an attack and [also] that will be strong enough to prevent one,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, deputy prime minister for security – and also the chairman of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party – told a press conference.
The plan will be financed from the issuance of Treasury bonds, as well as bonds issued by the state bank BGK, and from the profits of the National Bank of Poland.
The draft legislation now needs to pass the parliament and get a sign-off from President Andrzej Duda to become law.