State Secretary Marek Siwiec
National Security Advisor to the President of Poland
The title of this panel, "International Security Organizations: EU Enlargement, NATO Enlargement, and the New European Democracies," illustrates what has happened during the last 12 or 13 years in Central Europe. This title reflects a certain new quality in Europe, and points out that Central and Eastern European countries are seen now, not only as interesting new territories, but also as partners and future equal partners in both the EU and NATO. As a member of NATO, Poland has a mandate to speak about NATO, and, because we are not a member of the EU, we have an even greater mandate to speak about the EU.
We are trying to use the unique opportunities this workshop is providing by speaking about these issues, as President Kwasniewski has already done. We would also like to hear the perspective of our neighbors and future partners who are open to Western Europe, such as the Slovak Republic and Romania. The reasons these two countries are not yet NATO members are very different. The Slovak Republic is not in NATO because of internal politics; in 1998 the Slovak people showed by their vote that they did not want NATO membership. Romania was not even considered as a candidate in the latest round of accession, but it has made tremendous progress in the last years and months and is now being seriously considered as an invitee.
I have had the honor of being acquainted with our two speakers, Romanian Defense Minister Ioan Mircea Pascu and Slovak State Secretary Rastislav Kácer, and I know how much they are involved in the process of NATO enlargement-an internal process which may not be very exciting from a media point of view, but is very important to new applicant countries.