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Thursday, 6 August 2020

Address by the President before the National Assembly

Address by the President at the National Assembly

Thank you, all of you, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Compatriots!

Honourable Madam Marshal of the Sejm!

Honourable Mr Marshal of the Senate!

Honourable Mr Prime Minister!

Honourable Mr President!

Honourable Deputy Marshals of the Sejm and the Senate!

Honourable Deputy Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers!

Honourable former Marshals of the Sejm and the Senate and former Prime Ministers!

Honourable Madam President of the Constitutional Court!

Honourable Madam First President of the Supreme Court of Justice!

Honourable Mr President of the Supreme Administrative Court!

Honourable Presidents and Presidents of the Central State Administration Bodies!

Honourable Members of the European Parliament!

Distinguished Presidents and Chairmen of Central Bodies of State Administration!

Heads and Representatives of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister,

the Chancellery of the President, the Chancellery of the Sejm and of the Senate!

Dear Generals, Officers, Representatives of the Polish Army, Police, and other Uniformed Services!

Eminences, Excellencies, Reverend Representatives of the Churches and Religious Unions!

Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Members of the Diplomatic Corps!

Distinguished Representatives of state and Local Administration!

Dear Guests participating in this National Assembly!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

 

 

“All power in human society is derived from the will of the people”. Our great ancestors wrote these extremely important words in the 3rd of May Constitution. How timely they have proven to be in recent days, weeks and today!

 

Power is derived from the will of the people - and the people have expressed their will in the election. It is the Poles who have the right to determine who is to be their president - the head of state. And they have done so.

 

Over 20 million voters took part in the election. This is a big thing. A great victory for Polish democracy. The turnout, which has reached almost 70 percent.

 

Almost 10.5 million people voted for me. Above all, it is a great commitment, which I accept with profound humility. But it is also a great honour and strength, because it is the biggest number of votes cast in elections for almost 30 years. My compatriots have given favourable assessment to the five years of my presidency. And they have given me a strong, democratic mandate for another term!

 

I would like to thank once again from the bottom of my heart all the Poles who took part in the election. All of them. Those who voted for me, and those who voted for my rivals. Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you with all my hearth for this beautiful election act.

 

See also: President Andrzej Duda sworn in for second term These was a difficult election. Never before has there been such one in Poland: pandemics, lockout, suspended campaign, change of candidates, postponement of the election day… But, most importantly, it was conducted in a fully democratic, fair, and very efficient way. The Poles could exercise their right to vote!

 

I would like to thank everyone involved in the smooth running of the whole electoral process. Thanks to your intense work the elections were held up to the best world standards. Ladies and Gentlemen, once again my sincere thanks, especially to the State Election Commission.

 

Today democracy in Poland is stronger than ever. The citizens know that most important state affairs: the future of Poland, depend on them. Millions of Polish people who previously did not believe in it and did not vote have now gone to the polls. All across the country: in big and medium cities and in small towns, also in rural areas. And this is a big thing! This is an enormous success of us all.

 

That is why I have invited my rivals in this election to today's ceremony, to address them right from this place and say: this broad participation of the Poles in the election is also a result of your work, your effort, your commitment. So, thank you, truly, for achieving this.

 After all, this has always been our goal. Our: of the Polish democrats. To make the electoral mandate strong, to secure the highest possible turnout. And this is the case today. I thank you wholeheartedly.

 

At the same time, what merits further reflection is that five years ago, four million less Poles took part in the voting.  And before 2015, the picture was often even worse. Why? We need to find an answer to this question as it is pivotal for further strengthening of democracy.

 

 I do hope that in the next elections the Poles will take part even more numerously. This is a challenge for us all: we need to make sure that in five years’ time the turnout will exceed 70% or even more! This is a great challenge for the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I want to be the president of Polish affairs. The affairs that matter for all Polish people. Equally for my voters and for those who supported other candidates - my rivals.

 

I am open to cooperation and I look forward to it. The door of the Presidential Palace has been open for the last 5 years and will always be open to various milieus, to representatives of all political parties.

 

The Coalition for Polish Affairs that I have just mentioned is necessary. There are issues and problems which are unifying in spite of existing differences. We should build a possibly broadest consensus for them. I will consistently work in this direction.

 

Politicians should be providing a good example in this respect. I made this point from this very rostrum during the first inaugural session of the Sejm. Political dispute, only natural in any democratic system, will not disappear as it is part and parcel of democracy. But much can be done to lower the temperature of this debate. Today, first and foremost, we need more kindness, more smile, and, importantly, more mutual respect. What is extremely important is that we should always be able to shake our opponents’ hand, after even the fiercest disputes, regardless of diverse views. Here in the Sejm, in our workplaces, in the family circle, at home.

 

This is precisely why after the second round in the evening of the election day I invited Chairman Rafał Trzaskowski to the Presidential Palace. To shake his hand and to thank him for the election rivalry. To show to the whole society that the campaign is over, tough as it has been. I wanted to make it a new custom established in Polish politics. And I do hope that my successor in office will also invite his or her rival to the Presidential Palace and they will shake hands. The way the Polish people should do.

 

I do count on good cooperation with everyone. However, such a will to cooperate must, obviously, be also present on the other side. I hope this will be the case. My hand continues to be outstretched as a sign of a respect and readiness to cooperate.

 

In recent days, we have demonstrated that collaboration is possible. We have been able to pay tribute to the Fathers of our independence: as representatives of all parliamentary caucuses. This way, we have all celebrated the unique anniversary: the centenary of the institution of the Government for the Defence of the State, headed by prime minister Wicenty Witos. The Government that fended off the Bolshevik onslaught on Poland. Moreover, this was the Government which having obviated the mortal threat that loomed over Poland, proceeded with reconstruction of the country. It was a unique government: bringing together representatives of very diverse political parties of the time - from right to left. This stands as an important and noble example of taking particular care of Polish affairs.

 

We are in the eve of the centenary of the Battle of Warsaw.  Of our great national triumph. The victory that saved Poland, Europe, and the world from the felonious tyranny. Let us live these special days together with the feeling of national unity and pride in Poland. Let the posture of the Fathers of our independence and the defenders of the reborn Republic of Poland act as a beacon to us. This is one of those things where we should all rise above all political divisions and partisan interests!

 

This is how my mentor: President of the Republic of Poland Professor Lech Kaczyński was reasoning and acting. In politics, he was looking for common denominators, for common causes. He was the founder of the political camp from which I descend. Without him, my presidency would have never happened.  Nor would the rule of the United Right.

 

Today, acting by the will of my compatriots, I am assuming again the office of the President of the Republic of Poland. The Poles know me and know what kind of values I adhere to. In the campaign trail I was not pretending to be someone else that I am. Let me assure you that this is how things will continue to be. I will comply with my commitments – I stand by my ideals, consistently.

 

Over the next five years, I will be implementing my programme. Polish matters are the most important for me; the ones that concern us all, the entire nation. As I promised, I will be the president of Polish affairs. It was not just an election slogan. This is the keynote of my presidency. In my perception, this is the point of holding this office.

 

This idea has been filled with authentic content thanks to the meetings with people all over Poland. Discussions about their problems, hopes and expectations. This has been the case for the last five years when I was travelling all across Poland. And this what the next term of office will be like. Close to the people and close to the matters that are important to my compatriots and to me.

These central issues are family, security, work, investment, and dignity.

 

These five Polish issues symbolize a Poland that can combine tradition with modernity! Because these two values ​​are not mutually exclusive, in fact, they complement each other. This is the Poland of my dreams: ambitious, developing at a fast pace, innovative, but mindful of its roots, history, identity, and tradition.

 

Thus, in the first place: family.

 

The family as a foundation because it creates and shapes society, economy, and culture. The family is our greatest asset. We must do our utmost to protect the family and secure the conditions for its development. That is why I signed the Charter for the Family and undertook to maintain all social programmes that were introduced in the course of my presidency - and to develop them further.

 

Our great compatriot, Saint John Paul II, appealed on many occasions - also to politicians - to afford special protection to the family. Both in legal and economic terms. He said: “The family is the basic cell of social life; it is the fundamental cell of human society. As the family goes, so goes the nation.”

 

In the second place: security.

 
This is, of course, a matter of great import to all of us, to the Poles. Security must be understood broadly. It is not just about the army or the police, but also energy, health, and food security. I would like to express my appreciation once again and to thank Polish farmers for ensuring that food security is provided, something that we have tested first-hand, especially when the coronavirus pandemic began. Today, thanks to their toil, we can benefit from food security, the fact that I wish to acknowledge and thank you for - from the bottom of my heart. And again, I wish to reiterate that the Polish rural areas and Polish agriculture require comprehensive care on the part of the state. I commit myself to provide this care to the Polish agriculture for the next five years in my office of the President of the Republic of Poland.

 

Every citizen of our country has the right to feel secure - and it is the duty of the authorities to ensure it.

 

Today, Poland is a secure country. With a good, solid standing in the international arena - in Europe and in the world. To strengthen this security, we must continue the process of modernization of our uniformed services. We must continue to modernize and develop our Armed Forces and interoperability with the Allied forces present on our territory, in particular with the US Army. We must act to strengthen Euro-Atlantic ties and the North Atlantic Alliance. This is an important task for the future, which I hope will continue to feature importantly.

 

Our energy security is enhanced by the expansion of international and domestic infrastructure securing LNG supplies. It involves the construction of a gas pipeline from the Norwegian shelf through Denmark and the Baltic Pipe to Poland. It includes the expansion of the gas terminal in Świnoujście and the intended construction of a floating gas terminal, which will be built in Gdansk.

 

Health security will only be provided by a properly organized and funded, modern healthcare that meets not only the current needs, but is also prepared to respond to future challenges. Hence, among others, the need for full implementation of the National Oncological Strategy, the Medical Fund, and the creation of a health care system for senior citizens through Centres 75+. These are important tasks for the coming years. I believe that together with you, the Ladies and Gentlemen of the National Assembly, we will achieve this goal.

 

A particular opportunity to act for the security of our country and our continent will present itself in 2022, when Poland takes over the Chairmanship of the OSCE, i.e. the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It will be an opportunity to promote the idea for which we consistently champion in the international arena. This idea is peace through law. We have been making this point at the UN and the Security Council in recent years. Or, to put it differently:  the idea of the force of the law, not the law of force. Peace through international law is an important task for the future, one that never ends. This is an important task, also meant to restore full sovereignty and territorial integrity to our neighbour - Ukraine.

 

In the third place: work

 

We want an ambitious Poland! Poland that develops its potential. One in which new, well-paid jobs are created. Poland effectively competing with other countries in the field of economy. Poland that lays down the conditions for its citizens for economic and professional development, for increasing their wealth. This is especially true of the younger generation. They must have a chance to do a good job here in the country, so that they do not go abroad, that they create and develop their families here, and that Polish children are born here.

 

For many years, high unemployment was a real curse in Poland. It was this thing that was killing dreams and forcing millions of Poles to emigrate in search of work. Today, in the face of the crisis caused by the pandemic, we must go to great lengths to prevent this situation from recurring. This is our extremely important task that is being carried out today by the Polish authorities, the government, parliament, and the president of the Republic of Poland. I hope that we will implement them in full and that they will bring Poland back to the path of development.

 

Investments

 

The crisis forces quick and bold decisions. Also, in the area of investments, precisely investments where the state must send an impulse, the state must set an example. It is in times of crisis that public investments come first. There is no development in Poland and there will be none without investments. And we must get back on track of dynamic development, the way we were before the pandemic. This is a historical challenge today.

 

We need grand projects - such as the central transportation hub: Solidarity Transportation Hub, the expansion of the gas terminal in Świnoujście, the crosscut through the Vistula Spit, construction and development of seaports, maritime transportation and of shipbuilding industry. Investments and outlays on the construction of roads and railroads throughout Poland are necessary.

 

But equally, local investments are needed. In every part of Poland, in every voivodeship, in every district, in every municipality. Through the Local Investments Fund, the School Modernization Fund, expansion of district hospitals, through subsidies for water tanks and for the development of green energy, climate protection, clean water, and air. To have continuous improvement of the quality of life in our country, Poland must develop. I will work towards this objective! I will take care of it.

 

Another area with great development opportunities for Poland are investments under the Three Seas Initiative. The fruits of this cooperation will benefit both ourselves and our foreign partners in the future, mainly in Central Europe, but not only. We need efficient transportation between the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, and the Adriatic Sea. We also need to balance the level of economic and infrastructure development within the European Union. This will be supported by the Three Seas Fund, of which Poland is a co-founder and which the world's economic powers want to join. This tells you volumes about the growing importance, fostered international cooperation, of our part of Europe and of Poland as the largest and most populous country in the region.

 

And the fifth and final point: dignity.

 

Poland is a country of wonderful people. It is hospitable, open, beautiful. With a great history that we are proud of. We will definitely defend this truth about Poland and the Poles. It is our duty. It is the duty of the President of the Republic of Poland!

We will - I deeply believe in it - all of us, as we are in this room, also defend the truth about the beauty, prosperity and wealth of our country being the joint work of all Poles. Also, because the citizens of the Republic of Poland are all equal! There is no difference between inhabitants of big cities, small towns, and villages. Everyone has his or her own and equal dignity. We do not divide Poles into better and worse because of their earnings, education, views, or religious beliefs. Everyone should be respected. A Pole is every person loyal to the Republic of Poland and to their fellow citizens. Everyone who has Poland in their heart!

 

Dear Compatriots!

Honourable Marshals,

Ladies and Gentlemen of this National Assembly,

Ladies and Gentlemen!

 

I believe in Poland. We are a proud and wonderful nation. I believe in the Polish people! In our wisdom and diligence, our perseverance and courage. I believe that we will be able to cope with the challenges of the present time.

 

I also believe in God. But at the same time, I know that not everyone has to believe in Him in order to respect the universal values and traditions from which Poland has grown. Because they are respected and appreciated equally by believers and non-believers. Poland established itself in Europe by being baptized in 966. We have been part and parcel of Europe for 1054 years. We do not forget about it!

 

I believe in the good future of our Home Country. We are looking forward to it with joy and expectation - because more than once have we seen that we are able to do extraordinary things together, together and in solidarity. I believe that we will be able to tap this opportunity for our nation, the greatest one in over 200 years, which is afforded to us by having a sovereign, independent, democratic and at the same time secure Republic of Poland. This is our great task for the future.

 

God bless Poland!

 

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