Britain on a charm offensive before it invokes Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty

Theresa May sees a friend in Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo since Poland too has called for reforms within the EU; Poland has ~830,000 citizens living in in Britain who have been harassed following Britain’s historic vote.

British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to make friends with Poland before she kickstarts divorce proceedings with the EU. May discussed security, defense and trade ties with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo yesterday. Poland has been a key ally for Britain, since a high number of poles have made Britain their home and have in turn faced a spate of xenophobic attacks in the wake of Britain’s historic referendum.

Before it triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Britain has begun a charm offensive.

“I am determined that Brexit will not weaken our relationship with Poland, rather it will serve as a catalyst to strengthen it,” said May ahead of the meeting in Downing Street.

Having joined the European Union in 2004, Poland has been wanting some reform in the bloc.

Polish Prime Minister, Szydlo said she hoped Britain’s future relationship with the bloc remains “as close as possible” and hoped that Britain receives a “good compromise” in future Brexit discussions.

“Whether we manage to complete this arduous task of bringing negotiations to a satisfying result will depend solely on our imagination and leadership,” wrote Szydlo in an article which appeared in the Daily Telegraph, a newspaper.

With an estimated 831,000 poles living in Britain, it is likely that their future in the country had been one of the agendas that was placed on the table. According to the Britain’s Office for National Statistics, 750,000 poles have shifted to Britain from 2004 to 2014.

Providing a future, post Brexit scenario, May said she expects to be able to guarantee the rights of 3 million EU nationals in Britain and expect the same treatment to the more than 1 million Britons in Europe.

“As we leave the EU, there will be a whole range of issues to address and settle, and clearly access to welfare systems will be one of those issues that needs to be looked at,” said a spokeswoman for May.

“I think what you do see from the prime minister and the Polish prime minister is a desire to provide reciprocity to British citizens and Polish citizens and other citizens in Europe,” said the spokeswoman and went to add that both sides were “keen to provide certainty for people.”

In 2015, Poland overtook India as the most common non-UK place of birth for people living in Britain.

Following Britain’s referendum, the Polish Embassy in London had expressed deep concerns about what it said were incidents of xenophobic attacks directed against its citizens.

Both leaders also discussed about the planned deployment of a British infantry company in Poland to help secure NATO’s eastern flank said Downing Street.

In contrast to the previous Polish government, Szydlo’s government has focussed on Britain ever since it came to power, while its predecessor laid emphasis on Germany.

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