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Saturday, 5 July 2008

Visit to EXPO 2008

On 5 July, 2008, President of the Republic of Poland Mr Lech Kaczyński and Mrs Kaczyńska went to Saragossa to participate in the Polish Day during the International Exhibition EXPO 2008.

On 6 July, the President of RP delivered a speech in the Congress Palace of Expo 2008.

Below you will find the text of the speech:

”It is not for the first time that Poland is taking part In the World Exhibition. The Poles, even if Poland as a country could not attend, have been taking part in it ever since the first exhibition in London 1851. We know that for 120 years the World Fairs have been seen as an event that presented world-wide achievements of our civilization. This tendency started changing after 1970. The exhibitions have no longer been a presentation of the attainments alone but have also started to serve to signal certain problems and to suggest potential solutions thereof. This year’s EXPO in Saragossa is also bearing such a character. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Saragossa on her success. Congratulations are also due to the authorities of Aragon and, obviously, to the Spanish authorities. It is a great success to organize such an exhibition, as much as to gain the right for hosting it. This is a success that has been achieved even before the opening of the exhibition. I trust it will be much greater upon its completion.

As Madam Minister was saying, this year’s EXPO is devoted to water and sustainable development. Therefore, devoted to problems related to environment and to climate change. This is a key problem of the present day but it was not easy to raise the awareness of the problem among elites and societies. Nowadays, we have very substantial success to our credit in this area but this success should be further enhanced, especially given the very complex nature of the challenge in store for us. In the world of today where development occurs in an asymmetrical way, where large countries and nations began catching up in their development just a dozen years ago or so, this development may always be occurring against the principle of sustainable development. The programme for sustainable development is a necessary programme but at the same time, it entails the need to weigh out many global interests. In this connection, we, the Europeans, have our own interests to pursue but we must also remember that also others have their interests as well. In this framework, the richer countries, and the latter term can be by and large applied to whole Europe, have their own interests but also the interests of the poorer ones need to be taken into account. It is crucially important. In this connection, solidarity between the rich and the poor is vitally important, as much as the transfer of technologies and departure from purely commercial considerations in certain cases. In the same vein, also creativity is crucial both in technological solutions and in social ones.

Madam Minister, Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year, my country makes its EXPO presentation under the motto: “Create and Care”. Creativity is a feature necessary for any development. In the world of today, it underpins development. Poland would like to enter such a path where creativity is the basic mechanism for development, an aspiration which has been already achieved in no small measure. Creativity of the Polish people is harnessed in their great entrepreneurship. In Poland, we have one enterprise for every two families. Perhaps, this has been triggered off by our individualistic nature. Hence, we scored relatively biggest success among the countries which embarked on transformation. But creativity also means the development of new ways, new technologies, new social solutions that I spoke about.

The second part of the motto is: Care. No development, no society can do without values. The motto: Care is connected to the Solidarity motto, and is also a reference to the Christian roots of Polish culture existing for more than a thousand years. It also refers to the roots of European culture more than two thousand years old. What I am saying is not a profession of faith: it is a statement of the fact. There is the following passage to be found in the Gospel and frequently reiterated by John Paul II: “You should carry each other’s troubles”. I think that they encapsulate our basic duties related to values. From this perspective, Saragossa is an excellent venue for EXPO which is devoted to water and sustainable development. We have here a culture of two thousand years’ standing. The city has looked on very prosperous and very bad times. Madam Minister made a reference to the Polish participation in Napoleon’s war against Spain. Indeed, we did take part. But I can assure you that the Poles who were fighting Spaniards on this soil were often showing their solidarity with the latter, the Poles were fighting for their country’s freedom. Because at that time, we could only pin our hopes for freedom on Napoleon, and Napoleon alone. One could say that you, the Spanish people won your war back then whereas we, the Poles lost ours since Napoleon lost. But the idea of a free Poland survived and a hundred years later Poland regained her independence . Nowadays, we are the sixth biggest state of the European Union, right after Spain. We are very satisfied with our membership of the EU. The development of your country is a model for many Poles. We wish to live in the united Europe which continues to rely on values. And in such a Europe, we want to partake in everything, also in issues related to environmental protection and to sustainable development.”

Subsequently, President Lech Kaczyński and Mrs Kaczyńska went to the Polish Pavilion to tour selected exhibits. The Presidential Couple also visited the Lithuanian Pavilion and the Spanish Pavilion.

After the luncheon hosted by the Minister of Development of the Kingdom of Spain, the President of RP went to the Press Centre for a meeting with the media.

In the evening, the Presidential Couple returned home. 
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