Poland: Former PM criticizes Tusk’s ‘Shield-East’ program as strategy to gain votes instead of actually protecting country

Beata Szydło accuses the current government led by Donald Tusk of politicizing national security with their "Shield East" program ahead of the upcoming European elections

Former Poland's PM Beata Szydło (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

On Monday, Beata Szydło, the former prime minister of Poland and current Law and Justice (PiS) MEP, sharply criticized Donald Tusk’s newly announced “Shield-East” program on independent TV Republika news channel. Szydło claims that the initiative, which promises enhanced fortifications along Poland’s eastern border, is nothing more than an electoral gambit aimed at the upcoming EU parliament vote.

The defense initiative, outlined by Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz aims to bolster security on Poland’s border with Belarus and Russia by 2028 with a budget of 10 billion złoty (€2.35 billion). The program includes constructing barriers and fortifications along the frontier.

However, Szydło remains skeptical about the timing and motives behind the announcement, suggesting that if Tusk’s administration were genuinely prepared and the project grounded in fact, she would support the government’s concern for national security. Instead, she argues, the plan rehashes measures already put in place by PiS, which were initiated by leaders like the party head Jarosław Kaczyński and former Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

Szydło also pointed to a perceived hypocrisy concerning border policy discussions, recalling how PiS’ efforts to secure the border against illegal immigration were previously mocked by Civic Platform (PO) politicians, including Tusk. She questions the sincerity of Tusk’s current stance on border security, suggesting it is merely a tactic to sway voter opinion against the backdrop of fears surrounding illegal immigration.

“After all, they were disarming Poland. They pursued a policy that was meant to weaken us, not strengthen us. The same people are in power today. Again, they hold the positions of prime ministers, ministers, and they make declarations which, in my opinion, are unfounded,” said Szydło.

The former Polish prime minister also expressed distrust towards Tusk, characterizing him as a political opportunist who adjusts his rhetoric to suit immediate political needs. She warns that his post-election actions may diverge sharply from his campaign promises, undermining the nation’s security to pursue his political agenda.

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