Internal Policies and EU Institutions

Buzek's introductory speech at the inauguration of the Esplanade Solidarność and Agora Simone Veil

Brussels -
Tuesday 30/08/2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Welcome to the high noon!  We take part in a very important, symbolic ceremony.

31 years ago, when I was chairing the first National Congress of the independent self-governing trade union Solidarność, I could never imagine that I would have been opening here, in Brussels, in the heart of Europe, the Esplanade named Solidarność, and the Agora named Simone Veil, after the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.

Prime Minister of Belgium, Yves Leterme, is co-hosting this ceremony with me.

We would like to welcome, and to greet, the heroes of today's ceremony: Madame Simone Veil and the millions of members of Solidarność, with its first leader Lech Wałesa, Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He could not be with us today. He greets all of you.

We warmly welcome the leaders of Europe: the President of the Council, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso

Welcome to the Speaker of the Polish Senate Bogdan Borusewicz, one of the heroes of Solidarity, and the representative of the French Government, Minister Jean Leonetti.

Also present here with us: 

Hans-Gert Pöttering - my predecessor, former President of the European Parliament.

Wim Kok, former President of the European Federation of Trade Union, and former Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

Tadeusz Mazowiecki - first Prime Minister of free Poland.

And Piotr Duda, the current President of the Solidarność Trade Union.

Welcome to all of you! Present here next to the European Parliament in Brussels and watching us on TV or listening to the radio.

Dear Friends,

Mrs Simone Veil was President of the European Parliament when Solidarność was born in Poland. Not many believed then that Europe would change so quickly. But those few had enough faith to infect so many with the idea of freedom. Simone Veil is one of those few.

As a lawyer and politician, she always worked for the good of ordinary citizens. She experienced the worst of the Second World War. All her professional life she dedicated to the goal that, never again Europe should face another war. Thank you for being with us today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is no better place to honour Solidarność. As the first independent trade union in my part of Europe, it was present in Brussels from the very beginning. As an idea it was present here many decades before Poland joined the EU.

We all know that Solidarność is not only the name of an ordinary trade union, but the name of the union which was created from the incredible need for freedom and was the basis of this freedom. It is the name of the first, and one of the greatest political initiatives which started the path to democracy of many European countries, and at the end, helped dismantle the iron curtain.

Dear Friends, let me say a few sentences in Polish:

Ćwierć wieku temu wołaliśmy w Polsce: "Nie ma wolności bez Soldiarności". Dziś tutaj, w Brukseli, musimy zawołać: "Nie ma Europy bez Solidarności". Solidarności, która daje odwagę i siłę, aby nie tylko wywalczyć wolność, ale aby z niej z godnością i z szacunkiem dla innych korzystać, aby przezwyciężyć największe wyzwania. Solidarność całemu światu jest potrzebna.

The value of solidarity is today necessary in Europe, and all over the world and it could help us to keep peace and to overcome the challenges we face. The Esplanade Solidarność and the Agora Simone Veil will remind us of this. Thank you!


  • Robert A. Golański


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