Speeches
Internal Policies and EU Institutions

Message from Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, to a sitting of the National Assembly to mark the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Warsaw -
Friday 01/07/2011

Local executive leaders,

Members of the Sejm,

Members of the Senate,

Colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

As of today, all eyes in the European Union are focused on Poland – the largest of the new Member States – as it takes over the helm of the EU. Ours is a country in which support for integration is extremely high. Poland has skilfully handled the crisis, and today it stands as a synonym for positive energy, enthusiasm and optimism. These attributes are a huge asset at the start of a Presidency. In Brussels, people are aware of Poland's strength. One of the important tasks facing Poland is to change the mood in the EU. We need to bring some of Poland's enthusiasm to the EU, which is something that it needs now more than ever.

Colleagues,

I am delighted that Poland has been preparing diligently for this challenge over a long period of time. Poland's priorities for the Presidency have strong backing in the European Parliament. The economic crisis, the multiannual financial framework, the single market, the Common Security and Defence Policy, energy security, EU enlargement and our eastern and southern neighbourhoods are all highly appropriate areas to focus on.

These priorities cannot be brought to fruition without close cooperation with the European Parliament. Parliament and the Council, which is now presided over by Poland, are jointly responsible for 90% of EU legislation. I am convinced that this cooperation will be exemplary.

Members of the Sejm,

Members of the Senate,

Poland is taking over the helm of the Presidency at a difficult time. The public debt crisis in Greece and other Member States must be addressed immediately if the stability of the eurozone – and, indeed, of the European Union as a whole – is to be maintained.

Freedom of movement – guaranteed under the Schengen Agreement – has also been called into question. External and internal instability results in uncertainty among the public, which in turn leads to a growth in populist sentiments – which we here in Brussels no doubt feel even more acutely than you – and anti European feeling.

The great challenge facing the Polish Presidency is to reverse this harmful trend. One thing that can help to achieve this is the attitude of Poles to the tens of thousands of Europeans who will visit Poland during the six month Presidency. We must encourage our fellow Poles to be friendly and welcoming to them. The European Parliament will support Poland. Do not forget that there are many of us in Brussels and Strasbourg – fifty of us, in fact.

Members of the Sejm,

Members of the Senate,

No presidency can be a success without the support of its parliament, which in this case is you. We Polish and European parliamentarians are faced with many challenges. We will be responsible for dealing with key European issues, such as reform of the common agricultural policy and the future of the cohesion policy and the single market.

We will meet during joint parliamentary and committee meetings. We have a very full six months ahead of us.

The Presidency of the EU Council represents a major undertaking for the country as a whole. And I know from experience that the presidencies held in the highest esteem have been those that have avoided becoming bogged down in domestic disputes. However, I am fully aware that this can be difficult to avoid. The Presidency of the EU Council offers Poland the opportunity to gain the trust of Europe, which will have a bearing on our future influence over decisions taken at EU level, which is of major importance for Poland. I am convinced that this opportunity will not be wasted.

I hope so for your sake, for my sake, for the sake of Poland and its people, and – of course – for the sake of Europe.

Thank you.

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