Dear all,

Over the past few weeks, the Lisbon Treaty has been particularly high on the EU's political agenda and at the centre of my work. I look forward to addressing the European Council this week where I will set out my and the Parliament's views. This is an issue very dear to my heart, and to the European Parliament, I would like to share some of my thoughts about the Lisbon Treaty with you.

The Irish "Yes" to the Lisbon Treaty at the beginning of October provided a new impetus and impulse to the whole ratification process. As I said then, the Irish people have demonstrated true commitment to the European project. They reconfirmed their desire to be in the heart of Europe. However, I also said that this is not the end of the story, and that we have to listen and take on board the message of those that voted No.

On 9 October, I was in Prague where I met with the Czech President - Václav Klaus where we discussed the Lisbon Treaty. I believe that each European country is a sovereign state and should not be pressured. Nevertheless, I used this opportunity to point out the cost and the loss of efficiency linked to the non-implementation of the Treaty. I am optimistic and will continue to constructively engage to find a solution so that the Lisbon Treaty will be ratified by the end of the year in all Member States.

Buzek and Klaus
Meeting with President Václav Klaus - I am optimistic that we can find a solution on the Lisbon Treaty
Polish President Lech Kaczynski ratifying the Treaty of Lisbon on 10 October in Warsaw
Polish President Lech Kaczynski ratifying the Treaty of Lisbon on 10 October in Warsaw (© www.prezydent.pl)

It is my firm belief that the EU needs this Treaty and that it should not stay only on paper any longer.

The Lisbon Treaty is not an end in itself, but a tool to enable the EU institutions to act more efficiently. We are here to help to find solutions to pressing problems in the EU like energy security, climate change or the financial crisis. Our global partners want a strong Europe to work with; they will not wait for the EU to sort out its internal institutions.

Just one day after my visit to the Czech Republic, it was a particularly moving moment for me, when the President of Poland signed the Lisbon Treaty on 10 October in Warsaw. I said at this important and solemn occasion: The new Treaty gives us new strength and a new way of functioning in the European Union. The recent referendum in Ireland gave an overwhelming support for the Treaty. However there were also those who opposed it. There are many in the EU who share their point-of-view. Let's also listen to them. We should take a closer look at what they want to tell us. Once we are open towards those who think differently, we ourselves will be stronger, more efficient, but most of all we will express solidarity.

I know that many of you are currently working to prepare the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty in the European Parliament. I am proud that this institution is so well prepared and your work is very much appreciated.

20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall / 20th anniversary of the democratic change in Central and Eastern Europe

I have been invited by Chancellor-elect Angela Merkel to take part in the official celebrations of the city of Berlin to mark twenty years after the fall of the Wall on 9 November 1989. On 8 November, I will deliver a keynote address in Berlin on the commemoration of this crucial event in the Bundestag.

On 11 November, the European Parliament will equally commemorate this historic event and the anniversary of the democratic change in Central and Eastern Europe. I look to hearing the learned views of my friend, the respected writer and politician Václav Havel.

I would like to use this opportunity to share with you some of my personal thoughts.

More than 20 years ago, I was active in the Polish Solidarnosc movement -this was the first democratic movement in Central and Eastern Europe and led to the start of democratic change in the region. The dream of the Polish people and my personal dream were to belong to the family of free European countries. Today we are part of it and we help to shape our common future.

In 1989, the democratic and largely non-violent protests of the citizens of the former GDR, their faith in a better future and the strength of the civic movement impressed me and reminded me of our own protest activities in Poland in the early 1980s.

I remember well the day the Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago. On 8 November, the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl arrived in Poland for an official visit. On 9 November he had to suddenly break off his visit to Poland in order to be present in Berlin.

It was exciting and a turning point for Europe. Until then, the Polish government, that of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, had been the only democratic government in the former so-called Eastern Bloc countries. Step by step, countries from Central and Eastern Europe re-embraced a democratic system. I am very happy that in November we will celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the democratic changes in Central and Eastern Europe united.

As I said in my inaugural speech in September, old and new Europe are no more. This is our Europe! The twentieth anniversary helps us to remember how much we have achieved. We work together in the European Union based on the principles of mutual understanding and solidarity.


Other key events

  • My meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko was a highlight for me. I have known Viktor Yuschenko for many years. I welcomed EU-Ukraine agreement on the modernisation of Ukraine's gas transit system and stress the need for the common EU external energy policy, which is also critical for Ukraine’s energy security.
  • I was particularly pleased to announce MEMORIAL as well as all other human rights defenders in Russia as the winner of the Sakharov Prize. The prize will be awarded on 16 December in Strasbourg. We hope to contribute to ending the circle of fear and violence surrounding human rights defenders in the Russian Federation, and to advance our message that civil society activists everywhere must be free to exercise their most basic rights of freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
  • On 14 October, I participated in the opening of the European Jewish Congress' Brussels Office. I underlined my own personal commitment to the promotion of tolerance and reconciliation, as well as to the combat against anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination based on race or religion.
  • I was also in Stockholm on 23 October for the European Development Days (EDD). I was the first President of the European Parliament to take part in the EDD. It gave me the opportunity to highlight the importance of development and to discuss with among others, Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
Meeting with Viktor Yushchenko in Brussels on 15 October
Meeting with Viktor Yushchenko in Brussels on 15 October
Meeting with Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, at the European Development Days in Stockholm
Meeting with Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, at the European Development Days in Stockholm
 

As ever, here is a just brief selection of my work. For more information please check my website and Facebook account.

Yours,