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Friday, 2 February 2007

Presidential visit in Romania

On 1st February 2007 in the evening the President of the Republic of Poland and Ms Kaczyński departed for an official visit in Romania. The President is accompanied i.a. by Deputy Head of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Secretary of State Mr Robert Draba and Undersecretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland Ms Małgorzata Bochenek.

On 2nd February the President and Ms Kaczyński began the visit with laying a wreath at the Monument-Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This was followed by meetings with the President of Romania Traian Basescu, the Prime Minister of Romania Calin Constantin Anton Popescu-Tariceanu, Chairman of the Romanian Senate Nicolae Vacaroiu and Chairman of the House of Deputies of the Parliament of Romania Bogdan Olteanu.

After the meeting with President Basescu President Kaczyński said to reporters:

I gave the President a fairly detailed presentation of our doubts concerning the current wording of the European Treaty. I also gave my opinion regarding the situation in Europe with respect to the approach of other States to the Treaty. I underscored our openness as regards talks about the Constitutional Treaty. I mentioned what is being planned regarding such consultations. And naturally, let me say this again, I tried to discuss in detail our doubts connected with part one and talk in more general terms about part three of the Treaty. As it is known, Poland will be presenting her points on this matter. We already said that it will be more or less in the middle of the German Presidency, but actually we did not discuss this particular topic with President Basescu. It is however worth recalling that in France, before the end of the German Presidency, parliamentary elections will be held. Now, considering the important role France plays in the European Union, this fact is significant.

During a dinner hosted by the President of Romania and Ms Basescu in honour of the President of the Republic of Poland and Ms Kaczyński, the Polish President offered the following toast:

I would like to begin by thanking you for inviting me to Romania. I am very satisfied with this visit. I am also very satisfied with the extremely interesting discussion with the President. I am also very glad that we are now together not only in NATO – for this has been the case for some years now – but also in the European Union. Indeed, our alliance is durable, dating back to more than eighty years ago, however it is also certain that the future of the young generation and generations that will follow in Romania and Poland will likewise be a future very closely interlinked. In fact, whatever form the European Union takes, it will certainly determine our future to a great extent. And in this respect it shall be a common future. Without borders, with full freedom of movement of Romanians to Poland or Poles to Romania and also throughout the huge territory of the European Union. This time we are among 12 states, which are EU members since recently. Not only are they new in the Union, but they also have some common experience, more or less dramatic, variously perceived yet common to us. This is past us however, though it does create some common problems. And the EU is a wonderful thing, a great achievement of European civilisation. However in the EU one has to learn to fight for one’s own interests – though this is fighting only with the force of argument – and this is a fight we must carry on together, in the name of common interests and in a way also in the name of common memory. I want to raise this glass to you Mr President and Ms Basescu, to the whole Romanian Nation.

In the afternoon in the Polish Embassy in Bucharest Mr Kaczyński met with the Polish community in Romania and decorated following persons with Golden Crosses of Merit, presented upon the Foreign Minister’s proposal:

- Barbara Breabân – a Polish citizen living in Romania, librarian in the University Library in Constanta, founder of the Association of Poles in Constanta – for many years a member of the Board of the Union of Poles in Romania, involved with the creation of “Polonus” – a magazine of the Polish community in Romania;

- Cazimir Longher – a Romanian citizen, contributor to activity of the Polish community, Counsellor in the County Office in Suceava, Deputy Chairman of the Association of Poles in Suceava and the Union of Poles in Romania, involved with the creation of “Polonus” – a magazine of the Polish community in Romania.

During the meeting in the Embassy the President said:

I am very pleased that I could meet with the Romanian leaders. This visit comes late – I was to have been here several months ago however a disaster in Poland, a mining accident prevented me from coming here. Today I have already spoken with President Basescu, whom I actually had the opportunity of meeting earlier, when he was the Mayor of Bucharest and I – the President of Warsaw. Our talks were very successful, both now as well as all others.
In almost any country where I come to with my wife we meet Poles, and this is in various circumstances. I know more or less how over two hundred years ago Poles appeared especially in Bucovina. I do naturally realise that fate brought many a Pole here in 1939 – this also is true in case of my family. But then I know that some of these people left Romania later, be it during the War or just after it ended. I also know that those who stayed do nourish Polish tradition. They live in a foreign land though a diaspora is a normal situation. This means in brief that every nation has a greater or smaller diaspora; in every nation the majority usually lives in the homeland, but then there are some who live elsewhere and there is nothing strange or wrong with that.
Personally I would like to wish you all the best, both as citizens of our friend – the Republic of Romania, as well as to Poles. We want you to sustain Polish tradition and language. But we also want you to be loyal citizens of this country. In fact we are now together in the EU and in NATO; there are no material contradictions between us; there is no material contradiction between being a good Romanian citizen at the same time feeling a Pole. We will strive – and this is the agenda of the current government, which I naturally am not a member of (the President is a somewhat different function, however I come from the same political grouping); now this agenda includes a greater than before focus on the Polish community worldwide, including Romania. Let us hope that this will be increasingly successful.
Very important is cooperation in education, education also in our country. Poland has an extremely developed education system. Actually after 1990 we had many successes, but also a few failures. A huge success has been the growth of education in Poland, especially on a higher level. Today maybe in two countries in Europe there are more higher school students with respect to the number of births, than in Poland. Therefore there will certainly be room also for those young people of Polish origin who would like to go to university in Poland. There will also for sure be room for many a Romanian as regards higher studies in Poland. We are also interested in reverse situations: I think that the Romanian language is too little known in Poland, just as too few Romanians speak Polish and this is a situation, which must be changed.
Once again I would like to wish all of you the very best. Not only in your collective life as the Polish minority, not only as citizens of Romania but also in your private and professional life. My best wishes!

The visit in Romania was originally scheduled for November last year. The date was postponed due to the disaster in the Halemba coal mine in Ruda Śląska.


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