During his first trip to Poland, new UK foreign minister pledges ‘progressive realism’ in foreign policy

In his first official visit abroad, U.K. Foreign Secretary David Lammy discusses resetting relations with the EU and reinforcing commitments to Ukraine at a meeting with Polish FM Radosław Sikorski

David Lammy and Radosław Sikorski in Chobielin, the private residence of the Polish FM. (photo source: K. Laskowski/Polish FM'/X account)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

In the picturesque setting of Chobielin, the private estate of Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski located near Bydgoszcz, newly appointed U.K. Foreign Secretary David Lammy met with his Polish counterpart to discuss key international relations topics. This Sunday encounter marks Lammy’s first official trip abroad since assuming office following the Labour Party’s recent electoral victory.

The two ministers engaged in a private discussion before addressing the media with statements emphasizing the need for a reset in relationships with the European Union based on a new U.K.-EU security pact.

Lammy reaffirmed the U.K.’s unwavering support for Ukraine amid ongoing conflict and highlighted NATO’s united stance against Russian aggression. He declared that under the Labour Party, British foreign policy will be characterized by “progressive realism,” which will require a reset in several key areas. One aspect that will remain unchanged is the support provided to Ukraine in defense against Russian aggression, as well as the U.K.’s commitment to NATO’s eastern flank, which he assured is “inviolable.”

Sikorski expressed gratitude for Lammy’s choice of Poland for his inaugural international visit, indicating the strong ongoing ties between the two nations, irrespective of their current governments.

The Polish foreign minister lauded the Labour Party’s landslide victory. Despite Labour earning fewer votes than Jeremy Corbyn in 2017, due to Britain’s voting system, Labour secured an overwhelming majority. In contrast, Reform UK, which earned 4 million votes, only earned four seats.

Sikorski said Labour’s victory signaled a refreshed approach to U.K. foreign policy under Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s leadership. Starmer has promised a government free from rigid doctrines, aiming instead to serve the populace effectively and restore trust among voters.

Further discussions between the Polish and British prime ministers are scheduled for later in July, where they aim to solidify and expand bilateral cooperation, including the Polish-British quadrilateral framework.

Sikorski voiced optimism about the future of U.K.-Poland relations and highlighted the geographical and symbolic proximity of the U.K. to Europe despite its island status, emphasizing the importance of closer ties in the current geopolitical landscape.

“I hope that the United Kingdom will once again move closer to Europe and even more so to Poland. I always emphasize one thing: Although the United Kingdom is an island, it is a European island,” added the head of Polish diplomacy.

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