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In the year of the 25th anniversary of the transformation of the political system and of the struggle for freedom and democracy in Poland I wish to announce the end of systemic change in our country! The transformation that we undertook and implemented has been thorough and radical, even epoch-making. Therefore, the time has now come to close the period of change officially and to present the Polish State as a mature democracy and with a fully-fledged economy. Let this jubilee year be a symbolic watershed between the previous phase of destruction and construction, and the current phase of establishment and development. Let it be from now on a golden age of the Republic of Poland! Today, twenty five years on, I would like us to look back at the road we have travelled and draw some conclusions; but first and foremost, I want us to look at the present and to look ahead to the future. From a historical perspective it must be recognised that we have achieved a lot in this time of transformation. There have been errors too, sometimes leading to injustice and social inequality. The overall outcome is nevertheless positive, even more so considering where and with what we started. I must admit that 25 year ago, the only wish I had was to open the door to freedom. I did not think what the first day after victory would bring. Maybe I was hoping our freedom would have drawers full of programmes. As it turned out later, we had to build everything from scratch. We were learning democracy and the free market at a practical level, and I must say we have succeeded quite well. Talking about transformations, the path to freedom, or the road we are taking now in a free Poland, we should not only recall the year 1989 and see it as the only cause of our present democracy and free market. The events of 1989 were important, but were neither the first nor the last element in the chain of events that had their origin much earlier. One cannot forget the dramatic events in Poznań in June 1956, December 1970 in Poland and other bids for freedom. These painful experiences instilled in us a strong conviction that the only way to follow was a wisely managed and peaceful struggle. This conviction was subsequently reinforced by the words of encouragement we received from Pope John Paul II and which we managed to turn into reality. These were the foundations on which both the Polish August of 80 and the Solidarity movement grew, not only as a trade union or a freedom movement, but as a philosophy underpinning our actions. This philosophy helped us to survive through the difficult times of the 1980s, a time whichshook the nation, and when Solidarity was greatly weakened. In 1988 and 1989 Solidarity had lost some of its momentum and no longer had the support of so many millions; yet it managed to bring us freedom when we eventually sat down at the Round Table. We achieved much more than the concessions won in the Round Table agreement foresaw – our prime minister in 1989 and our president elected in free elections in 1990 were the two elements that sealed the peaceful revolution. Therefore we must now, twenty five years later as we celebrate the Anniversary of 1989, remember every link in the chain of events that lead to freedom. I would like to see in this logic of the actual causes and effects, another  phase of the historic battle for a better future, this time on a global scale. The first calls that Solidarity made for unity, consensus and collaboration in building a fair, safe and prosperous global world take on a particular dimension today, and the Polish experience of solidarity and dreams of freedom may now become a guideline for nations and peoples who in the contemporary world must still cope with enslavement and hopelessness, and here I mean, also our brother Ukrainians and many other nations. Further, it may also show the direction in which global civilisation should develop, and serve as lasting points of reference. This is what the world today lacks most. Neither we, as a civilisation, nor as a global world or individual nations, have so far been successful in identifying those values that would be universal for the whole of humanity, and to which we could refer irrespective of nationality, race or faith. Consequently, we stand helpless in the face of global crises or local conflicts, or even tend to forget that in this global world our neighbour’s problems become our problems, too. What our civilisation needs is a catalogue of unquestionable values accepted by all, without exception, on which to build a world of peace and safety. It is important that we agree to build our world on universal values, among which I include solidarity as the foundation of social life in many areas: economy, work, global collaboration, social inequalities. Solidarity and wisely used freedom should be the values from which universal respect for human dignity, the freedom of speech and religion, or the right to justice and equality of opportunity should derive. And we must make sure that these rights are wisely and efficiently exercised in a spirit of solidarity, locally and globally. Let this Anniversary discussion on history be at the same time a call for a debate on the shape of the future. This is the responsibility of the generation of those who have fought for and won freedom, and those who now want to use it wisely. It is our common task to make sure that these historical and democratic achievements, and in particular the potential which we, Poles, still have, is not squandered. It is a task to make the best of the chance Poland has today to build a new golden age. We should also remember that historically it has been a very long time since Poland’s geographical and political situation was so stable in terms of lasting security partnerships, economy and development, if it ever was. This is a foundation on which certainly much can be built today. And I shall always be there too, to welcome all who are interested and ready to join. Like twenty five years ago … Or even earlier.
PL
W roku 25-lecia przemian w wolności i demokracji chcę ogłosić: W Polsce zakończyła się właśnie transformacja systemowa! Dokonaliśmy gruntownych zmian, zmieniliśmy nawet epokę. Dlatego powinniśmy oficjalnie zamknąć okres transformacji i ogłosić czas państwa dojrzałej demokracji oraz okrzepłej gospodarki. Niech ten rok jubileuszowy będzie symboliczną cezurą pomiędzy etapem burzenia i budowania a etapem urządzania i rozwoju. Niech to będzie nowy złoty wiek Rzeczypospolitej!
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