President: Decision to join EU was breakthrough for Poland
The decision to join the EU was of historic and revolutionary significance for Poland, as it determined the country's development, President Andrzej Duda said in the eastern city of Puławy on Wednesday, the 15th anniversary of Poland's accession to the EU.
President Duda and his wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, took part in a European Picnic in Puławy and met with the city's residents.
Entering the EU has been of "revolutionary significance" for Poland, Duda said. "The things that take place in Poland due to EU funds, the investment of those funds that come to us as part of the (EU's) cohesion policy is something similar to the Marshall Plan," the president said.
Adopted in 1948, the Marshall Plan was a US initiative to help war-devastated Europe get back on track to economic growth. However, Soviet-dominated countries in Central and Eastern Europe rejected the plan under Moscow's pressure.
The president said no one in Poland needed an explanation of what the EU is. "We, the Poles, are its strong supporters," he added.
Andrzej Duda recalled the pre-accession referendum in which Poles decided to join the bloc and mentioned the instrumental role of Polish-born Pope John Paul II in getting people to vote for the EU membership.
"We need to do everything for the European Union to last, and for Poland to last in the European Union," the president said.
According to Andrzej Duda, today the EU needs "more democracy" and more say by national parliaments. He argued the European Parliament's "decision-making role should be stronger," as it was elected by EU citizens.
Andrzej Duda also appealed for a high turnout at the European Parliament elections, which will be held in Poland on May 26. (PAP)