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Tuesday, 31 December 2002

President Aleksander Kwaśniewski`s New Year message

Good evening. In just a few hours another year will have passed: one that was both demanding and momentous; marked by effort and by expectation. We have reasons for satisfaction. Two weeks ago, at the Copenhagen Summit, the clock of history announced times of achievement for Europe. The negotiations of Poland and of nine other countries with the European Union had been completed. The successful finale of those serious discussions represents our great joint accomplishment. The vision of the Polish August and of the Polish Round Table - when Poles chose the way of transition to democracy and to the free world - is being fulfilled. The dream of many generations, that we no longer be forced to choose the lesser evil, but seek the greater good is coming true. We owe respect to all of the Polish prime ministers and governments that came after1989 for the consistent way in which they reformed the country and for the efforts they put into the negotiations. Let us be grateful to the Polish Church for Her continued support of our European aspirations. I direct words of appreciation to the parliament and to all institutions and persons that contributed to bringing Poland closer to the EU and the EU closer to Poland. Finally, let us congratulate ourselves for the determination, the common sense and the patience we have exhibited through it all. We have come to the twilight of the divided Europe. The wounds left by Yalta and Potsdam have all but healed. Here we should reflect that the wheels of history do not turn by themselves: it is we that give them their turn. Our wise forefathers ably discerned their historical opportunities: when they embraced Christianity, and thus brought Poland into the family of the civilised nations of Europe; and when they engineered the Polish-Lithuanian Union, through which a multinational and multicultural state was brought forth. We strive to remain worthy of this heritage. The free Poland in the united Europe represents fulfilment of expectations of generations upon generations of Poles as well as opening of new vistas for us, and particularly for our children and grandchildren!
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