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Brexit on the agenda as British PM welcomes Polish delegation

The summit comes five months after Britain voted to leave the European Union, a decision which has raised concerns in Warsaw over the fate of around 800,000 Poles thought to be living in the UK.


Brexit on the agenda as British PM welcomes Polish delegation

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday welcomes her Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo to Downing Street, where Brexit will be high on the agenda of talks with ministers.Brexit will be high on the agenda of talks with ministers.

The high-level meeting will see the Polish and British leaders accompanied by a total of 14 ministers, in what London described as the first such meeting of its kind between the two nations.

The summit comes five months after Britain voted to leave the European Union, a decision which has raised concerns in Warsaw over the fate of around 800,000 Poles thought to be living in the UK.

May and Szydlo are expected to initially meet separately from ministers representing finance, foreign affairs, defence and other departments, ahead of joint talks on Monday afternoon, the British government said in a statement.

Ahead of the meeting, May praised the contribution the Polish community had made to the UK.

"I am determined that Brexit will not weaken our relationship with Poland, rather it will serve as a catalyst to strengthen it," she said in a statement.

"Today`s meeting puts beyond doubt the common ground we share, the importance we attach to our bilateral relationship and the benefits it brings."

May has repeatedly said she remains committed to Europe despite voters deciding to withdraw from the EU, a process which the British premier has said she will formally begin by the end of March.

She has promised to curb migration from the bloc and has said the UK`s approach to EU citizens currently residing in the country will depend on how Britons abroad are treated in the negotiations with Brussels.

With Poles representing one of the largest minority groups in the UK, Poland has taken a cautious approach to Brexit and last week President Andrzej Duda urged politicians to tone down their rhetoric.

"I propose a glass of cold water to cool emotions, so that in the end it doesn`t turn out that we all lose -- both the EU and the UK," Duda told Bloomberg.

Monday`s summit comes after Poland`s foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, and Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, flew to London in September following attacks against nationals in Britain.

Two Poles were attacked outside a pub in Harlow, northeast of London, days after a Polish factory worker was murdered in the same town.

The June 23 referendum on EU membership was followed by a spike in the number of attacks against foreigners and two Polish police officers were deployed in Harlow following their compatriot`s murder. 

The bilateral talks will also discuss defence policy, such as the deployment of 150 British soldiers to north-eastern Poland, and foreign affairs including Russia`s actions in Ukraine and Syria.

From Zee News

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