Message by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers Donald Tusk

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen,

The first days of May in the Polish calendar is the time of joy and pride. Regaining the independence and normalcy we regained the possibility of celebrating. During those days we no longer have to demonstrate for or against something. Today, state holidays are simply a time of respite for the citizens, and for the prime minister, an occasion to say what he regards as important. In a free, safe country there is no better demonstration than a family spending the time together, nor a better procession than smiling people walking in the park.


The first of May is again simply a day when those who work hard are appreciated. We just remember that work is a value and people who perform it merit top respect.
Tomorrow, on the anniversary of the enactment of the first Polish and the first in Europe constitution – no matter of party divisions – we shall all be filled with pride of our history, the accomplishments of the state and legislative tradition. Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of Poland’s accession to the European Union. Like the authors of the 3 May Constitution, we shall not lack the courage and modern thinking to guarantee our place among the leaders in modern Europe mapping out the directions of its development.
In free Poland, in the Brightest Republic of Poland, the first and third of May holidays cannot be celebrated against anybody. They are common; they belong to all Polish people. They are symbolically tied by today’s National Flag Day, the banner under which every one of us has the right to stand under with his head raised high.
This is where the tasks of the government and mine as the prime minister stem from. We all have the right to be proud but we all also have the right to take advantage of strong, affluent Poland. Building this strength and affluence we must not forget about the duty of equating chances. It is in the interest of the state and the nation that nobody was excluded from this process. That is why the principle of the solidarity of generations is one of my government’s basic assumptions.
There are two generations we should be concerned about in the first place: the elderly people, whose experience and responsibility we desperately need and children and youth on whom our future depends. For the elderly, we have created a programme of restoring to work people at the 50+ age. I myself am past fifty and I will immodestly say, that this is quite a good age for performing responsible work. Preparing the programme of privatisation, we envisaged the creation of a pension reserve, which would guarantee us decent pensions.
We have already sent to the Sejm the bill freeing pensioners from paying radio and television subscription. I think that the Polish state should afford such a gesture for people whom we all owe so much.
The most important task I would like to focus my attention on is the youngest generation. My greatest ambition is to guarantee Polish children equal chances for development as the children from the most highly developed European countries have. The same, and maybe even better. I am sure that this is possible and that it is the best way for Poland to make the second great leap forward to find itself among the European leaders and the most highly advanced countries in the world.
We shall start from the basic issue, from the unconditional right to a hot meal. A hungry child is an infamy, with which already the previous governments have been struggling. In effect of those actions the scale of the problem has diminished considerably. But I will not rest until I would be sure that no child in Poland is hungry. We shall launch a programme thanks to which every child in a public elementary school will have the right to have lunch without showing certificates, receipts and proofs that he is sufficiently poor. If a child asks for food it means it is hungry and must be fed. The feeling of security is no less important condition for development. Media reports about the tragedies whose victims are children fill us with horror. Alas, descriptions of dramas can be found also in our country. The government, in its activity, cannot base only on press news, which is why I asked the competent ministry to prepare a report on this issue. A programme of struggle against violence towards children will be launched on its basis. Let it be clear: we are talking here about the protection against maltreating and violence, about the elementary safety to which all have the unalienable right and especially those who cannot defend themselves alone.
Satiated and safe children must be guaranteed adequate physical and mental development. As far as the physical development is concerned, there is nothing better than sport. We have started the programme “Sports ground in every commune”. The interest of the communes is enormous; the first several hundred grounds will be built still this year. Artificial turf for football, good surface for basketball, lighting, fencing, showers and responsible and professional guardians and coaches. Perhaps this will have a positive influence on our high-performance sport, but first of all, the successive generations of Poles will be healthier, more able-bodied and accustomed to active recreation.
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen,
Polish teachers watch over the mental development of young Poles and we can say with pride that they fulfil the task excellently. On the background of their peers from other countries, Polish pupils usually come off superbly. However, even the best Polish student in the contemporary will lose the rivalry with his colleague from the West if the computer and the Internet is not part of his natural environment.
Of course, many children in Poland have computers of their own, for hours surfing on the Internet and their parents are worrying that they spend too much time before the monitor. But also many children in this country have no access to the computer and in the contemporary world it is the simplest road to exclusion. You can help here. The IT revolution in the world is already past us. The time has come to stage this revolution in our schools. I would like to tell you that I am appointing a team, which will prepare the programme under the self-explanatory title “Access to computer for each pupil”. Like every Polish pupil has the right to a hot meal, he also should have the right to the access to computer, to educational software and the Internet. This will revolutionarise Polish education and equate the chances between children from poor and well-off families.
As you know, these days I am working on the budget with my ministers. I have already announced that I will stringently cut down excessive expenditures. But there are also goals on which money should be spent because what we invest today will bring us enormous profit in the future. Today, on the occasion of the holiday I would like to promise that there will be no lack of money for food for children, their safety, education and development. So that looking at the growing new generation of Poles, we could proudly look at our national flag. Today and every day. I wish you a peaceful, joyful celebration, walks and beautiful weather.
 


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