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Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Speech by the President of the Republic of Poland during the Paris Peace Forum

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to address the participants of the Paris Peace Forum. I believe that this important event will constitute a meaningful voice in the debate on the post-Covid vision of the world. 

Today the long-term consequences of COVID-19 for national economies, public health, global trade as well as individual lives still difficult to predict. 
Nonetheless, in this context, it is worth asking ourselves the following question: what should be done to ensure that the current crisis becomes an impulse for the construction of a new order, a more balanced economic architecture for our globe, and to negotiate a new social agreement? What needs to be done to emerge from it stronger and more united rather than weaker and shattered?

As far as I am concerned, the key lies in rethinking how to translate anew the fundamental values of humanism into political, social and economic practice. Undoubtedly, solidarity is one of such values. In Poland solidarity has become the synonym of freedom and responsibility for each other. Solidarity was adopted as the name of a great social movement, which has contributed to the fall of the Iron Curtain and brought unity across Europe. Today, the idea of solidarity stands a chance of becoming  the foundation of a new global unity.

While fighting the pandemic, we ought to think about a world in which solidarity among nations, and among generations alike, will allow us to build more balanced economic systems – functioning in a safe environment, with industry respecting the nature, and with employment based on respect for individuals and  families. The foundation for building a solidarity-based world is respect for life, the fragility of which has become more apparent to each and every one of us recently.  It is precisely life that must constitute the starting point for all subsequent actions. It must anchor the functioning of political and economic systems to the respect for every individual in their ecosystem. While only a harmony between man and nature will allow us to reach and preserve social balance,  it is an individual that must be the core element of our interest - the individual perceived as  free and equal, acting in solidarity with others. 


Ladies and Gentlemen,


The post-pandemic reality is also an era of modern technologies. What we have in mind, however, are technologies which serve to the benefit of an individual, not the ones substituting or supplanting them. I believe that we will witness an increasingly closer technological integration as well as an increasingly flexible interdependence in both dimensions: the geographical as well as the sectoral one.

This vision must not fail to include strong state entities – governments which are courageous in shaping relations between institutions, corporations and citizens. States  stimulating the development of economy  while ensuring that it does not happen at the cost of employees. States  defending rights of the  vulnerable and  providing conditions for an inclusive economic growth. Economies are not going to self-regulate. What we need is an active role of social and economic systems based on dialogue and transparency.

Only the path defined by such solidarity lodestars will allow states and societies to build an order which gives people the sense that the coronavirus pandemic was a painful lesson from which we were able to draw the right conclusions. Let us join our efforts in the fight for a better place to live in and for peaceful relations among us. 


Thank you. 

Speech by the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda during the Paris Peace Forum Paris, 11-13 November 2020

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