President Bronislaw Komorowski and his two predecessors as well as PM Donald Tusk and other politicians took part Thursday in public celebrations of Poland’s ten years as member of the EU.
Komorowski with Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski took part in the European Picnic in Warsaw’s Royal Lazienki park. The three presidents planted an Oak of Freedom to commemorate Poland’s first partly free elections held 25 years ago, on June 4, 1989. They were accompanied by a group of Poles born on June 4, 1989 and on May 1, 2004, the date of Poland’s EU accession.
Later Komorowski met ambassadors of EU states in Warsaw and together they attended an open air brass band concert in the Lazienki park.
In his speech to participants in the picnic Komorowski noted that Polish commitment to the EU was composed of several factors, including the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. “It is evident, and not just from the Polish viewpoint but from the viewpoint of the entire region, that there is and will be no secure, interesting and promising alternative to the European integration,” he declared. He encouraged Poles to vote in EP elections scheduled for May 25.
Komorowski recalled that the great change that took place in Poland as a result of the Solidarity election victory on June 4, 1989 “also meant a conscious pro-Western option and rejection of (existing) dependence on the East.” “(…) during the entire 25 years of Polish regained freedom we were going westwards,” he added. During that period Poland “prepared itself for meeting conditions necessary to become an EU member, held difficult negotiations (on terms of accession) and celebrated the happy moment of signing the international treaties” on accession, he recalled.
Lech Walesa said that current support for the EU among Poles, running at 89 percent, attested to the correctness of political decisions made in the course of systemic transformations after 1989. The correct reaction to threats coming from the situation in Ukraine was solidarity, he added.
Aleksander Kwasniewski said that “the Poles are still in love with the EU ten years after the accession and believe that together we can move mountains, while Western EU member states are going through a typical midlife crisis after living several decades in the EU.”
At another ceremony Thursday Komorowski decorated a number of Poles merited for building and consolidating European integration.
PM Donald Tusk attended a family picnic in Elblag (northern Poland) staged to celebrate the 10th anniversary of EU membership. The chance to join the EU did not come by accident, he said. “When we look at what the Poles have done in this city since 1945 we can rightly say that we have been building Europe here since the first days after WW2,” Tusk declared, adding that the same was true of places like Gdansk, Slupsk, Silesia, Lubuskie region, Western Pomerania, and Warmia and Masuria. “The Poles rebuilt these cities (from war destruction) after 1945,” he explained.
“When we look at recent developments beyond our eastern border we feel relief that we managed to do a good job of Poland’s ten year membership of the EU. And this applies to all Poles, irrespective of their political views and affiliations,” Tusk noted.
Also the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) staged an European picnic in Warsaw Thursday attended by head of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. He encouraged Poles to vote in EP elections on May 25.
“It is 100 years since the First World War broke out, 75 years since WW2 began from my country in 1939, the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, 25 years since Europeans tore down the iron curtain in 1989 and 10 years since the our continent became united again after years of artificial division,” Schulz said in an address. “Let us not forget about what happened 100, 75, 25 and 10 years ago,” he urged. Thanks to Poland’s EU accession the Poles and the Germans can live together in a united Europe, he added.
Poland joined the EU May 1, 2004, together with nine other states of East-Central Europe.(PAP)