Why Polish Defense Chief, Vehement Opponent of Russia, is Unpopular in NATO

© AP Photo / Czarek SokolowskiPoland’s Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz during a session of special parliamentary commission.
Poland’s Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz during a session of special parliamentary commission. - Sputnik International
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On the eve of the NATO Summit in Brussels, Poland’s parliament held a vote of no confidence against the country's Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, but the majority of MPs blocked the motion. Sputnik Polska discussed the unpopularity of the military chief with Polish journalist Andrzej Rozenek.

Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz (File) - Sputnik International
Polish Opposition Calls for Vote of No Confidence Against Defense Minister
On Wednesday, Poland's parliament held a vote of no confidence against the country's Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, put forward by the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party.

In the motion, MPs from the opposition Civic Platform accused Macierewicz of "destroying the potential of the army's soldiers, slowing down the process of equipping the armed forces with modern weapons and equipment, as well as forcing through the malicious concept known as the Territorial Defense Forces."

191 MPs voted in favor of the motion, with 238 voting against. To initiate the motion, PO needed the support of 231 voters.

Sputnik Polska discussed the issue with Polish journalist, former deputy of the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, Andrzej Rozenek, who noted that the 230 who voted against the motion are the deputies of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, which holds the majority in parliament.

Rozenek however noted that Macierewicz does not enjoy popularity within his own ruling party.

"Behind the scene, some are saying that he only harms the party. However when it gets down to the vote, it is the party discipline which comes into play and there is no surprise that the deputies voted according to the will of the party's leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski," he told Sputnik.

Soldiers park their amphibious vehicles on a ship as they participate in a massive amphibious landing during NATO sea exercises BALTOPS 2015 that are to reassure the Baltic Sea region allies in the face of a resurgent Russia, in Ustka, Poland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - Sputnik International
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"Hence PiS is able to stand up even for the worst minister, despite the will of the Poles," he added.

The journalist further commented on the unpopularity of the minister, who has become the first defense minister not to be invited to Pentagon for a long time.

"Our partners in NATO see what is going on in the country. They are aware of Macierewicz’ various ludicrous remarks, for example about Mistral helicopter carrier deal between Russia and Egypt for $1," he said.

Last year the Polish military chief claimed that Egypt had sold two French-built Mistral ships to Russia – which originally commissioned the ships – for $1.

"Such claims can't be ignored, thus Macierewicz is unwelcome in European countries, at NATO meetings and at the Pentagon," Rozenek told Sputnik.

Polish Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft fly over Poland's national flag during a military parade. - Sputnik International
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The journalist also commented on Macierewicz's repeated remarks about the so-called "Russian threat," noting that they remain mere verbiage, as his actions demonstrate otherwise. He is disarming the Polish army, he said, as if there are a hundred of peaceful years ahead.

However, he further noted, Poland's neighbors don't need to worry as Poland still remains a NATO member state. NATO is a defensive alliance, he said, and has no intention of attacking anyone. Poland is also an EU member, and the EU is a peaceful union.

Macierewicz doesn’t offer any benefit for the Polish army, he added. The current military chief has halted all programs launched by ex-president Bronislaw Komorowski (2010-2015) and former defense minister Tomasz Siemoniak, aimed at modernizing it and which have been developing well. Minister Macierewicz cancelled them betting on the country's Territorial Defense Forces which will cost euro 3.5 billion euro ($3.9 bln) per year, or 10 percent of the budget allocated on the army’s needs.

This means that the army will lose these funds and is certain to hold less threat because of it, the journalist concluded.

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