Lower house passes bill on expanding Polish armed forces

On Friday, the lower house of the Polish parliament, adopted a new Homeland Defence bill, which was voted for by 450 lawmakers with five abstentions and none against. The bill will now be submitted to the upper house, the Senate.

Under the bill, Poland’s armed forces are expected to increase to about 300,000 troops , with the number of professional soldiers going from 111,500 to 250,000 , and soldiers of the Territorial Defence Forces – from 32,000 to 50,000 .

Poland will also raise defence spending from the NATO-recommended minimum level of 2 percent of GDP to 3 percent . The bill will also allow the Polish armed forces to lease military equipment, enhance the training of soldiers and restore the reserve system.

Preparations for the bill were announced a few months ago by Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, but its approval by the government in late February coincided with increasing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr Kaczyński said at the time that “Poland must have at its disposal the armed forces adequate to the kind of situation we have today – forces that will be able to fend off an attack and will be strong enough to prevent such as attack from happening.”