Dan Smith, Director of the Stockholm International Peace Studies Institute, pointed out that the common perception that state institutions are slower to respond to crises is not borne out by the facts. During the last two crises, the pandemic and the war, it was relatively quick to shift money to other uses as needed. On the other hand, in the face of the third challenge of modern times, i.e. climate change, governments are still doing less than they could.

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Bez bezpieczeństwa nie ma nic: rynku, kultury, edukacji

This is the worst time for us to militarise. Countries have not yet paid off their pandemic debts and have additional expenses due to the energy crisis and rising cost of living (which requires aid programmes or results in reduced tax revenues), and the cost of the green transformation.

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Wybuch wojny zmienił nieodwracalnie Europę

As participants in the debate said, this is the reason why it is so difficult to increase defence spending by even 0.5 or 1 percent of GDP.

This is necessary, but requires transparency. Closer cooperation between European NATO countries on this issue is also necessary.

Giedrimas Jeglinskas, Assistant Secretary General for NATO Executive Management of NATO, confirmed that the alliance must be based on consensus. This is not only a challenge, but also a strength that comes from the democratic system. NATO must do everything to help Ukraine prevail.

He added that spending on security is a fundamental issue, essential to the market, education, and culture. This includes not only weapons and military, but also energy, trade, and technological security. Closer cooperation between, universities, government, and the private sector as well as between countries is the key.

Michael Fallon, former UK Defence Secretary, agreed that talking about finding a trade-off between market and security is pointless because there is no contradiction. Without security there is no working market.

Today, he said, our European way of life is under threat from many sides. The West’s enemies have recovered from the Cold War, especially Russia, which has conducted cyberattacks, organised coups, and attacked other countries for years. Therefore, we need to increase defence spending. Only eight NATO countries meet the requirement to spend 2% of GDP (introduced eight years ago) and nine do not even spend 1.5%.

Expenditure must also be more efficient, e.g. through joint training of soldiers from different countries. We also need to be more vigilant in technological security and dependence on raw material supplies. More transparency will be helpful here. Spending must be subject to public debate so that the public better understands that this is necessary.

Anna Rulkiewicz, President of the LUX MED Group, told about how the company helped refugees from Ukraine after the outbreak of the war. The wave of migration caused by the war was also a big challenge for health care.

LUX MED was one of the companies that immediately started providing medical assistance to migrants – at the Central Railway Station among others. Later on, the company also started to employ people from Ukraine, including nurses, doctors, and reception staff.

Partner: ISW