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Poland unveils record 2023 defence budget

Polish defence spending trend, 2014−33. (Janes)

The Polish government presented a draft state budget for 2023 on 30 August that includes an unprecedented increase in defence spending, set to reach a record PLN97.45 billion (USD20.66 billion). At just over 3% of GDP, the 2023 Polish defence budget is 69% higher in nominal terms than the 2022 one (56% in real terms) and more than triple its 2014 level.

In addition to the PLN40 billion set aside in the budget for capital expenditure, a further PLN30−40 billion will be made available for the acquisition of foreign military equipment, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a press conference on 30 August. Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 February prompted Poland to seek to increase the size of its armed forces to 300,000 and strengthen its military capabilities by purchasing modern equipment such as K2 main battle tanks, K9 self-propelled howitzers, and FA-50 training and light fighter aircraft. To fund this, parliament approved the Defence of the Fatherland Act in March, which determined that defence spending should increase to 3% in 2023 and remain at this level in subsequent years.

Poland has also taken a leading role in providing military equipment to Ukraine. Following a meeting of European Union (EU) defence ministers in Prague on 30 August, during which Poland promised to “support Ukraine on a permanent basis”, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak described the record allocation to defence in 2023 as necessary to strengthen the Polish armed forces and remarked that the country was conscious of the need to maintain its independent defence capabilities. “We are aware that if we do not take care of our security, no one else will fulfil this obligation for us,” he said.

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