Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Compatriots!
Fifteen years ago, we made a crucial step in our history. On 1 May 2004, Poland became a part of the United Europe of free nations. We have joined the European Union.
Over a thousand years, Europe has brought the most treasured values to the world: daring thoughts, Christian mercy, modern science, common education, technology, and democracy that formed modern nations.
We have been a European nation for over a thousand years. The history of Europe and Poland intertwine.
Poland’s membership in the European Union was achieved over political divisions, in the common interest of our community. The consensus has served the Polish national interest. We should express our gratitude to those who have worked hard to ensure Poland’s accession to the European Union, to the presidents and governments who conducted the accession negotiations and prepared Poland for integration.
We never stopped, though. Quite the contrary. Poland has changed more than we expected over the years. Every single Pole contributed to these changes. We have all worked very hard during this time. For our own sake, for our families, for Poland.
After these 15 years, we take pride in ourselves. We stand at the forefront of European economic growth. We may now catch up with the countries that joined the Union many years before us and that have never experienced Communism. Our businesses compete with European companies as equals.
Being a member of the European Union does not mean, however, that we should abandon Polish interests. Over the last 15 years, we have had to strengthen our position. At times, compromises had to be made. At other times, our values had to be upheld. That is the spirit of the European Community.
New decades await the United Europe. It is now time for all Poles to attain the European living standard. This should be the common goal for all political parties present in the Polish and the European Parliaments.
In his address celebrating the 5th anniversary of Poland’s accession to the European Union, President Lech Kaczyński identified two possible ways to achieve this goal. One is to pursue Polish national interests in EU institutions. The second one is to strive for Europe-wide solidarity in matters such as energy security. We carry out these tasks with full determination – this is the direction our government has taken.
My numerous conversations with leaders of Member States show that Poland’s position is increasingly better understood in Europe. We effectively create new European alliances, in particular within the V4 group and the Three Seas Initiative. We find support for strategic projects, such as the extension of the LNG terminal in Świnoujście or the Baltic gas pipeline. Through such investments as Via Carpathia and Via Baltica, we create the real basis for the development and safety of our part of the continent for many years. It is also a Polish contribution to strengthening integration. To the United Europe of the future.
Previously the European Economic Community, the Union was created in order to bring peace to Europe after the Second World War. For all nations to work together and be equal. Poles, Germans, Czechs, French, Slovaks and Italians. All citizens of the United Europe deserve the same opportunities.
A Europe without selfishness and a Europe of solidarity is better than a “two-speed” Europe. A Europe based on family values is safer and more friendly than a Europe of revolution and cultural experimentation.
In the last 30 years, we have done three great things: we have overthrown Communism, we have joined NATO and we have joined the European Union.
Now, we fight for our future together. I appeal to all political forces – let us argue, because that is the essence of democracy, but let us not undermine our position in Europe. Let us not undermine the Polish reason of state, our right to freedom and solidarity.
I am pleased that we can celebrate this 15th anniversary in Warsaw with the leaders of the countries which, together with Poland, joined the Community at that time.
Together we will fight for a Union that protects the weakest, promotes creativity, allows dreams to come true and guarantees freedom: economic freedom, freedom of expression, freedom from poverty and exclusion, and individual freedom.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let us be glad that we have been in the European Union for 15 years. Let us be proud that for over a thousand years we have been Europeans – there would be no history of Europe without Polish successes and sacrifices.
But above all, let us work to ensure that this great idea of peace and prosperity becomes the common future of Poland and the whole of Europe.