Polska pomoc

The Minister of Foreign Affairs on Polish Foreign Policy for 2011

We present the fragments of the Annual Address given by Mr. Radosław Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland,
on March 16, 2011, with regard to the Polish development assistance.


Members of the House,

Having achieved what seemed almost beyond our reach in 1989, today we must set more audacious goals. I am confident that I speak on behalf of all the members of this House when I say that we want Poland to become not only a secure and prosperous country, but also one with influence. A serious country. So that we, like Spain or Turkey before us, will be able to regain some of our bygone prestige.

A serious country is, in my opinion, one with an economy which - based on modern benchmarks - has a GDP of over a trillion dollars. It is a country that exports more capital and technology than it imports. Whose youth does not emigrate to find work, and whose opportunities attract at least its own diaspora. A country that may not be a nuclear power, but that can deter potential invaders. A country that does not react when provoked, but responds with actions. A country that can fight for the interests of its region. That grants development and humanitarian aid. That, in the international system, is regarded as a problem solver, not a source of problems. Finally, a country that does not wait for others to take a position, but is looked to for leadership. A model worthy of emulating. That is a goal that meets Polish ambitions.

What sort of foreign policy can be conducted in order to achieve this goal, here and now, with our current assets and liabilities, and in the current international environment?

The mission of the Foreign Ministry, as drafted in a statement by its staff, "is to pursue the interests of the Republic of Poland through European and global cooperation for security, democracy and development."  It is also expressed, more briefly, by our motto: "Serving Poland, building Europe, understanding the world." Let us bear in mind that Solidarity succeeded because its leaders deliberately acted in line with the motto of the Hanseatic city of Gdańsk: "Nec temere, nec timide" - neither rashly not timidly...

...Ukraine is our strategic partner. Its accession to the EU is in our long-term interest. Consequently, every time Poland is in a position to do so, and Kiev wants us to, we shall provide Ukraine with our support.

Our policy towards Belarus is determined by conditionality. The fate of the fraternal and European Belarusian nation is something we hold especially dear. I have said on numerous occasions that Poland is in a position to significantly help Belarus, if it decides to follow the path to transition. However, we must respond with equal strength when Belarus strays away from this path and violates fundamental human and civil rights. I am confident that the time will come when we will be able to support a reform-minded Belarus that is open to European cooperation...

...Members of the House,

As Horace wrote, "For it is your business, when the wall next door catches fire." Solidarity holds a special meaning for Poles. Not only the administration, but also dozens of Polish NGOs are involved in supporting the Belarusian people. In the name of solidarity, a month after most of the Belarusian presidential candidates were beaten up and detained, we organised a donor's conference in Warsaw, at which several dozen delegations representing states and international organisations dedicated over EUR 87m to the cause.

The political and economic transformation in Poland was made easier by the support of our friends. Now we are helping others. Over the last two years, the value of Polish development aid - addressed both to Eastern Partnership countries and to the countries of the global South - has exceeded a billion zloty. As a token of international solidarity, we share our experience and support reforms and independent media outlets. In order to effectively support human rights and civil society, we are establishing a Foundation for International Solidarity. We have been consistent in linking development projects with support for democracy, also at the local level. We are training Ukrainian border guards, social workers in Georgia and nurses in Zambia. We are sending volunteers abroad and building schools.

We sympathise with peoples who demand freedom. Last year's summit of the Community of Democracies demonstrated this support. It is no coincidence that the Secretariats of the Community of Democracies and the OSCE Offices for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights are based in Warsaw. We have put forward the idea of creating a European Endowment for Democracy, aimed at supporting democratic processes in the entire European neighbourhood.

Solidarity in the European dimension also means eliminating disparities in development. We do not want the difference in GDP per capita between the poorest and the richest Member States to be sevenfold as is the case today. We do, however, want to join forces with others in our drive for stability, prosperity and high living standards in Europe and its neighbourhood. Last year, in the face of the looming crisis, we supported Iceland and Latvia with loans of USD 200m each. We have been particularly committed to the cause of Moldova. Thanks to the joint support of Poland, Sweden and Romania, it has moved closer to European standards. Ukraine should sign an Association Agreement with the EU soon, and Moldova will start negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EU shortly...

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