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Thursday, 22 March 2007

Visit of the President of Hungary in Poland

On 22 March 2007 the President of the Republic of Hungary and Ms Solyom came to Poland on a state visit upon invitation of President Lech Kaczyński.

After the official welcome ceremony on the courtyard of the Presidential Palace the Presidents held a private meeting. This was followed by plenary talks of the delegations led by President Kaczyński and President Solyom. Also a joint declaration was adopted, reading as follows:

”Declaration of the Presidents of the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Hungary

Meeting today in Warsaw, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of signing of the Treaties of Rome, which today constitute the foundation of the process of European integration, the Presidents of Poland and Hungary emphasise the contribution of the Polish and Hungarian nations to the uniting of Europe.

Brought together by a historical community, remembering the years when Poland and Hungary as well as other countries of Central-Eastern Europe remained locked behind the Iron Curtain, the Presidents speak for an open nature of the European Union. The traditional openness of Europe to the outside world shall serve the purpose of extending the sphere of freedom, security, justice and development.

Emphasising the historical ties and the centuries-old friendship between the Polish and Hungarian nations, the Presidents of Poland and Hungary express satisfaction that at the initiative of cooperating self-government communities the 23rd of March has been announced by the Sejm of the Republic of Poland and the Hungarian National Assembly as the Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day.

Striving to maintain the special bonds between Poland and Hungary for future generations, the Presidents support enhancement of social contacts, economic, cultural and scientific cooperation, twinning of cities and direct relations between citizens”.

After the end of the talks a press conference was held, during which President Lech Kaczyński said:

”I wanted to express my great satisfaction at the visit of President Solyom in our country. It is the seventh time that we see each other in 14 months, but it is the second official visit – exactly a year ago I was in Budapest, today the President is our guest. This comes from the traditional partnership of our nations as well as the common membership of our countries in the European Union, in NATO, the Visegrad Group. I will not go back here to the ties between our nations and to the traditional Polish-Hungarian friendship. We spoke about the future of the Constitutional Treaty but also about issues connected with the operation of the Visegrad Group. We also discussed the situation of numerous Hungarians who live around the territory of the Republic of Hungary – in this respect the Hungarian nation is in an unprecedented situation in Europe. We spoke about the matter of EU enlargement as well as the Union’s strategic partnership; we spoke about very important matters connected with building European infrastructure, especially roads. I need not emphasise that that the climate of the talks is very good and we shall continue them during dinner. All matters, which connect us will be discussed. There are naturally some differences in political philosophy between the current Hungarian government of Prime Minister Gyurcsány and the government of Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland, however they do not spoil our generally very good relations.”

In the evening in the Presidential Palace an official dinner took place, offered by the President of Poland and Mrs Kaczyńska in honour of the President of Hungary and Mrs Solyom.

Below is the text of the toast raised by President Lech Kaczyński:

”Distinguished President of the Republic of Hungary, Distinguished Madam, Your Excellency Archbishop, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen!

I have to admit that it is to my great satisfaction that President Sólyom has visited our country as the first official guest of the President of the Republic of Poland in 2007. I think this fact is a good confirmation of our traditional friendship – the genuine fondness between nations, which is rare in case of nations that were neighbours for a long time, for centuries. Together with the President, in fact all of us in this room, we represent two nations, which have a long history (the Hungarians have a somewhat longer one than we) – long but full of twists. There were times of greatness of both states; there were also very bad times. Our road to freedom was a twisted one, but we got there and at almost the same time. We also reached further goals. Both the Republic of Hungary as well as Poland are members of NATO. Both Poland as well as Hungary are members of the European Union. This too we attained at the same time. Both countries have gone through the difficult process of transformation and both countries were generally successful in this often painful process.

Today we play in the great European game. Today we are in the world’s only alliance, which as I have said projects stability and freedom. This faces us with new challenges, ambitious challenges, which require effort and imagination. Over 16 years ago – 16 exactly a few weeks ago – the Visegrad Group of originally three countries was created. History transformed the three countries into four, but as I said to the President today – this does not apply to Hungary or Poland. We remain as we were then. Now, this Group is valuable, it spans countries, which have in some respects similar historical experience, though in many other respects it does naturally differ. We can matter in Europe, we can be of significance but I say again – this takes courage and imagination and one more thing: cooperation, which sometimes comes at a price, sometimes it requires commitment to matters, which do not concern us directly. However anyone who has seen the European union at work – however briefly as in my case – already knows this, must know it. Poland has consistently been calling for such cooperation. And this is very important, but there is another matter of equal importance: our bilateral relations, our friendship, which must be reinforced and nourished. I think this visit of the President and Mrs Solyom are very helpful in this respect. I think that there will also be talks on the level of Heads of Government and on all other levels too because today’s Europe – within the European Union naturally – knows only close cooperation. Either close or merely routine without a third option. We support the close cooperation option.

Mr President, distinguished Mrs Solyom! I wish to raise this glass to you, I wish to raise it to the whole Hungarian Nation”.

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