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Friday, 17 February 2017

President speaks at the panel "The future of the West: Downfall or Comeback?"

  |   President Andrzej Duda at the 53rd Munich Security Conference President Andrzej Duda at the 53rd Munich Security Conference President Andrzej Duda at the 53rd Munich Security Conference President Andrzej Duda at the 53rd Munich Security Conference

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished Guests,


It is not the first time that I have taken part in a discussion, where the participants have to confront with the question: will the West survive? To all those, who expect to witness the downfall of the West, I would like to dedicate the words of Mark Twain: “the reports of my death have been exaggerated.”

 

But politics is not literature. It is not about finding clever answers to these types of questions. It is about finding effective solutions, and implementing them. What we are actually going to experience in the following years, perhaps even months, depends entirely on our actions.

 

I firmly believe that in order to consider the future of the West in terms of a “comeback” rather than a “downfall”, two crucial conditions have to be fulfilled.

First, we need UNITY.

Second, we need RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENTS.

 

History proves that the Western world has always been strong and stable, when it has also been united. Unity is the bedrock of our strength and security.

If the West is to come back, it can only come back unified.  If the West is to fall down, it will fall down in parts.

 

As the President of Poland I know very well that the divisions of the West have never caused any good for Central Europe. That is why my country works actively for the unity of our region, and for it to be the part of the united Western World.

 

The latest display of our unity are the results of the Warsaw NATO Summit. These results must be fully implemented. It is the matter of our defence and deterrence capabilities. Only when we are strong, can we enter into dialogue.

 

The basis of our strength is the Transatlantic Bond. We must not recklessly put it into question. It is our task to engage with the new U.S. administration in a way which would allow us to preserve the common interest of the euroatlantic community. By “common interest” I mean security. We all realise that the consequences of a potential destabilization in Europe would be felt on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

Furthermore, when we speak about euroatlantic unity, we cannot avoid the discussion on the impact of BREXIT. Britain might leave the EU, but it is in our interest that it does not abandon the European security architecture. The UK is a strong pillar of NATO, but also a key partner in the European defence cooperation. Therefore, we have to frame the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in a way, which would allow Britain to actively participate.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Apart from unity, it is the responsive government that has always been a source of strength and stability in the West. By “responsiveness” I mean the capability to react according to citizens’ will. The eagerness to meet their expectations.

 

Meanwhile, nowadays so many people experience a lack of trust towards State institutions and governments. What is more, political elites tend to look at elections with fear rather than hope. On top of that, the legitimacy of democratically-elected governments is often being put into question.

 

This may lead to the impression that the West is “reactionary” in a traditional sense of that word. Its political class resemble the court of Louis the Sixteenth of France and the aristocracy on the eve of the French Revolution.

 

The wind of political change can be felt throughout the Western world. The political elites should not try to stop this change, because it is inevitable.
On the contrary – they should turn their attention towards managing it. So that the effects of this change are constructive rather than destructive. I strongly believe it is one of the biggest challenges facing the Western political class. If we really want the West to come back, we need to tackle this challenge effectively.

And let’s face it: not everyone is interested in preserving the Western world. We need to be honest with ourselves: the West has enemies. They want us to be divided. They also want our elites to be detached from the people they represent.

 

That is why we must reaffirm the cohesion of the Western Community. But also – and perhaps equally importantly – we must be able to respond to the hostile policy aimed at breaking our unity.

 

We, the representatives of the Western world, cannot allow ourselves to be afraid. We should not fear to use all the strengths at our disposal to counter our enemies.

Which is what I wish to all of us.

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