With President Biden’s second visit to Poland since the war began and Warsaw gearing up to host leaders from nine countries on NATO’s eastern flank on Wednesday, Poland has found its voice.
“It is quite visible that the center of gravity has moved here to Poland and other countries in Central Europe,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in an interview on Monday.
Poland, which became a member of the European Union in 2004, is also taking delight in no longer being treated as just another “new member” of the bloc.
“I see that we are being listened to more and more on what is going on around us,” Mr. Morawiecki said. “I see that on the security challenge we are understood in a better way.”
He recalled that before President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia sent his military into Ukraine last year, Warsaw’s insistent warnings about the threat posed by Moscow and reliance on its energy supplies “were only sort of half heard.”
But, since the war began, Germany has ditched its previously Moscow-friendly policies and dependence on Russian natural gas, while Poland has become a hub for Western weapons flowing into Ukraine, a shelter for millions of refugees and the driving force behind European sanctions against Russia.
As a result, Mr. Morawiecki said, “all governments have admitted that my government was right with regards to Russia, to all the threats related to the Russian-German gas relationship.”
Foreign policy experts acknowledge that Poland has become a pivot around which much of the West’s response to Mr. Putin’s war now revolves. But some worry that it might not be entirely ready for prime time because of its domestic political battles ahead of national elections this fall and long-running feuds with the European Union over the rule of law and other issues.
“Polish leaders should take care not to overplay their hand,” Piotr Buras, the head of the Warsaw office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in a report this week on Poland’s aspirations to be seen as an important geopolitical player.