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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz. Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak signed an agreement on Saturday that paves the way for an increased presence of U.S. troops in the European country.

Why it matters: The deal is a part of the Trump administration's plan to withdraw some 12,000 troops from Germany and redeploy about 5,400 of them to other European countries.

Yes, but: The withdrawal has been met with some bipartisan opposition in Congress, as many lawmakers believe removing troops would encourage Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.

The U.S.-Poland Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed Saturday provides a legal framework for the countries "to enhance and modernize our capabilities, in support of the NATO Alliance’s collective defense."

  • It also gives U.S. forces to access specific Polish military installations to enhance the the sites' capabilities and facilities and lays the groundwork to deploy some 1,000 more U.S. troops to the country. 4,a500 U.S. troops are currently based in Poland, per ABC News.
  • It will cost Poland around 500 million zlotys ($135 million) per year, according to Reuters.
  • The U.S. has similar agreements with other NATO members, such as Belgium, Hungary, and Romania.

What they're saying: A State Department spokesperson said in a statement to Axios the agreement "is a milestone on our defense partnership which enables an increased U.S. military presence in Poland." 

The big picture: Pompeo and Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Jacek Czaputowicz also discussed neighboring Belarus, where demonstrators protesting the results of the country's recent presidential election have clashed with riot police.

Go deeper: Pompeo denounces U.N. Security Council for rejecting Iran arms embargo extension

Go deeper

Nov 18, 2020 - Podcasts

11th hour troop withdrawals

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it would withdraw around 2,000 troops from Afghanistan by mid-January. This comes after President Trump’s Pentagon reshuffle last week — when he fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and a few other officials.

The defense industry worries about Biden

Data: FactSet; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

America's defense contractors aren't celebrating Joe Biden's victory. They haven't accepted defeat yet, but they are digging in for budgetary battles.

Why it matters: The biggest companies in the military-industrial complex tend to see increasing revenues only under Republican presidents.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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