President Komorowski referred to the 30th anniversary of the introduction of martial law. Speaking about Polish experiences, the President underscored the fact that events in the 1980s help Poles better understand the significance of freedom and the needs of developing countries. Thanks to Poland's successful socio-political and economic transformation, as well as its membership of the European Union, the country has become an aid donor open to the needs of others. The President emphasized that it would be difficult to imagine sustainable growth without the right to freedom and respect for civic liberties, and that broadening possibilities for self-fulfilment - of societies, countries, and citizens themselves - should be the main objective of Polish and European development policy.
Deputy Foreign Minister K. Stanowski noted the political context which inclined the co-organizers to suggest a discussion on the ties between democracy and development as the key theme of the EDD. The theme of the debate was inspired by the events not just in the EU's eastern and southern neighbourhood (Arab Spring), but also in other parts of the world, e.g. Central Asia and Burma.