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Thursday, 25 March 2021

Message of the President to the Heads of Diplomatic Missions accredited to Poland

Message of the President of the Republic of Poland
Mr Andrzej Duda
to the Heads of Diplomatic Missions
accredited to Poland

 

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ambassadors,

we are experiencing an uncommon and difficult time, which is the reason why I address my words to you in a form different than before. I hope that our next meeting will take place in a traditional manner again. I do regret that we are not able to talk in person as it would mark our first encounter in my second term.

 

POLISH VERSION>>
 

Thank you for going through this challenging time of the pandemic here, together with us. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has been ruthlessly testing all of us for a year now: our political institutions, businesses, the health service, and above all our fellow citizens. Having all those difficulties in mind, and especially the sacrifice of the medical personnel, I am proud that as Poles we have passed the test of civic responsibility and the presidential elections were conducted successfully, in line with democratic standards, i.e. the rule of law and with a record-high turnout. Thanks to this, as the winner of the ballot, I have been granted a very strong mandate amounting to more than 10 million votes. It goes without saying that nothing is more valuable to a Head of State than a powerful social mandate obtained in free and democratic elections. In the history of universal elections in Poland only Lech Wałęsa, in 1990, received a higher number of votes. I consider this very good election result to be an expression of approval for the policy pursued so far and a credit of trust for the next term in office.

 

Looking into the future and following the events unfolding in various parts of the globe, also in the vicinity of the Polish borders, I know for certain that there will be no shortage of challenges that we will have to address together. Therefore, I have decided to expand the foreign department in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland by establishing a dedicated International Policy Bureau. I hope that thanks to the work of the new bureau, your cooperation and contacts with the Presidential Administration will be even better.
I entrusted the process of setting up the new Bureau to one of the Ministers in my Chancellery – Mr. Krzysztof Szczerski.
 

Your Excellencies,

in my intervention today I would like to focus, at the beginning, on three issues of general nature. I have selected them due to their undisputed importance for the international community and the contemporary context resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. I am convinced that they can be addressed by all participants of international relations irrespective of their geographic location, population potential or dominant religion. I guess we all agree that the contemporary world suffers from a deficit of such a direct and unifying cooperation.

 

The first challenge I can see concerns the launch of common action aimed at preventing the deepening of the global divide between the poor and the rich.  Unfortunately, there is a serious risk that the pandemic, and above all its economic impact, will thwart what has been achieved so far in building social justice among states. Therefore, the task of the utmost importance is to ensure the broadest possible access to Covid-19 vaccines. I urge that both the already developed vaccines as well as those undergoing clinical trials become a common good for the entire humanity with an easy and cheap access for every community. In a situation where we juxtapose economic profits with life and health, the choice is obvious. This is the only way to save millions of people around the world from death and poverty.

 

The second challenge is also connected with the ongoing pandemic, which has highlighted, sometimes dramatically, the crucial role of an efficient and generally accessible health care system in an increasingly globalized world. Today, we understand better than ever that the right to health security should be construed as one of the fundamental human rights stemming from the right to live. I gather that there is considerable room for cooperation also in this sphere, for exchange of experiences and good practices, in order to enhance the efficiency of individual national health care systems. In Europe, albeit probably not only here, we can boast commendable examples of admitting patients from neighboring countries to our hospitals. Polish medics have been taking care of Slovakian and Czech patients. These good-cooperation practices are worth preserving and extending.  Having said that, I would like the international community to make a concerted effort and develop in solidarity effective mechanisms of intergovernmental assistance. Just as we act together to combat climate change, so should we work in concert to protect our societies from the threat of pandemic, especially as epidemiologists predict a high probability of its recurrence in the future. Let us prepare for the challenge jointly and in advance.

 

The outbreak of the pandemic has reminded us of the dramatic truth about human existence, about the fragility of life and, in consequence, about the need to build strong institutions as a foundation to sustain the society in trying times. In the area of intergovernmental relations such a role is played by international law. Hence, I am deeply convinced of the necessity to consistently respect its provisions, especially the ones concerning human rights. Unfortunately, in recent months various places in the world have seen more examples of violations of such fundamental rights as the right to free and democratic elections and peaceful demonstrations. Poland will remain a member of the UN Human Rights Council for 2 more years. We stand ready to cooperate with all partners to better protect fundamental rights and freedoms.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

while thinking globally, I cannot, as the President of the Republic of Poland, forget about activities which are linked more directly to the prosperity of Poland and my compatriots. Having mentioned at the outset of my message  the notion of public legitimacy for my international policy, I want to underline that it was and is clear to me that it results from the successful combination of social expectations with tangible results, both in diplomacy and security policy.

 

Based on my experiences from the first term in office, I want to continue the activities which will, first and foremost, be conducive to the strengthening of Poland`s security, both within the North Atlantic Alliance as well as through bilateral cooperation. Therefore, I welcome the declaration made by U.S. President Joe Biden and his Administration on American commitment to the security of Europe and allied commitments under Article V of the Washington Treaty. As an important partner of the USA and a credible NATO member, we count on deepening the allied bonds, as this lies in the best interest of the whole Western community.

 

We do not forget that security also has a major economic dimension to it. The pandemic has shown that supply chains which are overstretched can easily be broken. Hence, while remaining open to collaboration with our global partners, we must think about how to create secure, regional chains of cooperation in areas strategic to the security of the state and its citizens.
 

And, last but not least, I am also thinking about energy cooperation the most prominent task of which is to guarantee the freedom of choice through the diversification of raw material suppliers and through the new break up of our energy mix. To this end, we are working, arm in arm with the government, on such a model for the Polish energy sector of the future. It will ensure diversification as well as an effective attainment of the energy transition objectives in a just way, i.e. taking into account economic and social conditions in Poland perceived as well-understood interests of our citizens.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

the priorities listed hereinabove lead me to another task which I intend to focus on during my second term. It is about building a strong Three Seas Initiative region within the European Union. In accordance with the Community`s goals, the economic recovery after the pandemic will take place through investments, of both EU funds as well as the public and private ones. The implementation of this task fits perfectly with the priorities of the Three Seas Initiative and its achievements to date, such as the establishment of the Three Seas Investment Fund. I am convinced that Central and Eastern Europe, thanks to its economic success in recent years, will become the engine for the economic recovery of the Community in the near future. If we succeed in that endeavor, and I firmly believe it will be the case, the success of the 3SI will radiate to both the West and the East of our region. We are facing a historic opportunity to send, precisely from Central and Eastern Europe, an impulse for further development of the Union of free nations and equal states, recognizing and respecting their value. And with regard to the eastern part of the Old Continent, I wish to ensure that today`s external border of the Three Seas does not remain forever the external border of the world of western values and institutions. That is why Poland consistently supports the "open-door" policy for the Eastern Partnership and Western Balkan states. That is why we demand that human rights be respected, and dialogue started with the Belarussian society. It is also why we advocate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and Georgia.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

diplomacy is primarily a practical activity, and as such, it must find effective solutions to specific challenges. However, its uniqueness consists in the fact that the practical dimension should serve larger, universal matters, which we call values. Being a person shaped by Polish culture and history, I regard the idea of freedom as particularly crucial.

 

Unfortunately, today`s restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic create a temptation to limit a number of liberties, and the fact that the vast majority of our activities has moved to the digital space has made the freedom of Internet the issue of key importance for the well-being of our citizens. My concern in this regard is aroused by the ever more frequent attempts, not only of anti-democratic regimes, but also of global corporations, to control and limit the freedom of speech in new channels of communication or to disrupt internal political processes in sovereign states. For a long time, the Internet used to be a symbol of free expression and unrestrained discussion, which in itself has been incalculable. Unfortunately, these days it is increasingly associated with censorship, numerous new restrictions or unacceptable practices.  It is worthwhile for us to start a discussion on how to ensure freedom in social media and virtual communities. At the same time, we must not forget that we are also faced with the challenge of ensuring that the Internet is not used for launching cyberattacks or exerting illicit influence on electoral processes. The reconciliation of Internet freedom and security presents one of the great challenges that the international community will increasingly face in the future.

 

Excellencies,

speaking of freedom and security I need to mention in conclusion that we will soon be celebrating the 230th anniversary of Europe`s first written constitution, the Polish 3 May Constitution. It was adopted here in Warsaw, at the Royal Castle. As Sejm Marshals, Stanisław Małachowski and Kazimierz Nestor Sapieha announced in the 7 May 1791 proclamation: "Our liberties are secured. From now on we are a free and independent nation". I encourage all of you, Ladies and Gentlemen, to jointly celebrate this splendid anniversary. It shall remind us that freedom and independence are the dearest values for us Poles, and that they are an inherent part of our political DNA. They have constituted the heritage of the Polish statehood and political thought since the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and are our timeless contribution to the discussion on the European and global order.

 

Thank you!

the President of the Republic of Poland, behind him some flags of Poland and UE

The President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda

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