Security, future of the EU and bilateral relations - official visit of the Speaker of the Sejm to Latvia

Strengthening security, reform of the European Union in the spirit of a Europe of sovereign states and development of bilateral relations - these are some of the topics of the official visit of Speaker of the Sejm Marek Kuchciński to Riga that ended on Thursday. The Polish delegation, in which the chairman of the Polish-Latvian Parliamentary Group, MP Wojciech Skurkiewicz, and the deputy chairmen of the group, MP Barbara Bartuś and senator Kazimierz Kleina, were also present, discussed, during numerous meetings with the representatives of the highest Latvian authorities, common goals, activities and challenges facing both countries, e.g. within the EU and NATO.

During the visit talks were held on deepening Polish-Latvian relations, including between the parliaments of both countries. This issue was one of the topics discussed during the talks with, among others, the Speaker of Saeima Inârà Műrniece, Deputy Speaker of the Latvian Chamber Gundars Daudze and representatives of the Latvian-Polish Friendship Group. The Speaker of the Sejm paid attention to the very well developing cooperation with Latvia in this field for many years. An important topic was the plans of Poland to organize in May a broad parliamentary summit including the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. - Recent years indicate an urgent need to strengthen parliamentary relations - said Marek Kuchciński.

The visit was primarily an opportunity to discuss security cooperation, in particular, the strengthening of NATO's eastern flank. The politicians emphasized the breakthrough significance of the decisions made at the North Atlantic Alliance summit in Warsaw, especially the appearance of NATO troops in our part of Europe. President Saeima, among others, expressed her gratitude to Poland for its commitment to security, including the participation in the Baltic Air Policing mission. The interlocutors agreed on the need to increase defense spending, support the development of the defense industry, and counter threats in cyberspace and other manifestations of hybrid warfare. The exchange of experience on strengthening internal security through the Territorial Defense Forces (in Poland) and the National Guard (in Latvia) was also one of the topics of the meeting of the delegation with the Speaker of the Sejm headed by the Chairman of the Committee on Defense, Internal Affairs and Prevention of Corruption Ainars Latkovskis. The prospects of closer cooperation between the committees of the Sejm and Saeima dealing with such issues as defense or combating corruption were also discussed.

Among the issues discussed during the visit to Latvia was also the future of the European Union. The common point of view of Poland and Latvia on the EU, including its renewal based on the vision of a Europe of sovereign, independent states, was emphasized during meetings of the Speaker of the Sejm with, among others, the Speaker of the Parliament Inârà Műrniece, Prime Minister Mâris Kučinskis and Head of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkçvičs. - Such changes in the EU can stop European disintegration exemplified by Brexit - explained Marek Kuchciński. The necessity to strengthen national parliaments was pointed out, among others, by President Saeima. The need for Europe to return to its Christian roots was also emphasized, which the Speaker of the Sejm discussed with Archbishop Zbigniew Stankiewicz, Metropolitan of Riga.

The issue of tightening bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the field of road and railroad infrastructure and communication within the implementation of such projects as Via Baltica or Rail Baltica was also discussed. As the Speaker of the Sejm said, such projects also indirectly contribute to increasing safety.

During the visit, the important contribution of the Polish minority to the development of relations between Warsaw and Riga was also discussed. Chairwoman Saeima recalled the figure of Ita Kozakiewicz, a meritorious Latvian activist of Polish descent. - She is a symbol: a patriot of Latvia and a patriot of Poland - said Inâra Műrniece. Speaker of the Sejm Marek Kuchciński also discussed the important role of the Polish minority and its current affairs, including the functioning of education, with representatives of the Union of Poles in Latvia. During the meeting it was emphasized that our compatriots in Latvia are among the best integrated and most loyal to the Latvian state. - Through your positive attitude towards the authorities you are one of the foundations thanks to which the Polish-Latvian cooperation develops," the Speaker of the Sejm pointed out.

The visit in Latvia was an opportunity to talk not only about the present and future issues, but also about the tragic moments in the history of our part of Europe, as the Speaker of the Sejm emphasized during the ceremonial inauguration, together with the head of Saeima, of an exhibition devoted to the Katyń crime. According to Marek Kuchciński, the opening of the exhibition in Riga has a symbolic meaning for the future of relations between Poland and Latvia. - We have to defend the truth together, stand on the side of freedom together and think about good cooperation together - he convinced. The exhibition, entitled "They were shot in the back of the city. The exhibition "They were shot in the back of the head. The Katyn Massacre exhibition" was prepared in cooperation with the Katyn Museum in Warsaw, the Latvian War Museum in Riga, the Institute of National Remembrance and the Polish Embassy in Riga.

In the Latvian capital, Speaker of the Sejm Marek Kuchciński and his parliamentarians also visited places associated with Poland, including the House of the Blackhead Brotherhood, where the Riga Treaty was signed in 1921, ending the Polish-Bolshevik war. The delegation also visited the University of Latvia, the former Technical University of Riga, where there are also traces of Polish presence. Among the graduates of this university, which is considered to be the forge of the Polish elite, one can mention such figures as President Ignacy Moscicki and General Wladyslaw Anders.

photo: Paweł Kula

text: Chancellery of the Sejm

KU090910With Speaker of the Latvian Parliament Ināra Mūrniece


KU090046Laying flowers in front of the Freedom Monument, a symbol of the independence of the Latvian state

KU090176KU091152With Prime Minister of Latvia Māris Kučinskis

KU091271-2KU091405With the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs

KU090540KU092374House of the Blackhead Brotherhood - the 1921 Treaty of Riga was signed here.

KU092782 (1) University of Latvia, the former Riga Technical University. Among those who studied here were General Władysław Anders and Ignacy Mościcki  KU092204-Pano KU091939 Old Town

KU090690Meeting with Polonia

KU090777 KU090625Embassy PL

KU090463 (1) KU090406 KU090291 National Museum of Latvia


With Archbishop Zbigniew Stankiewicz, Metropolitan of Riga


At the opening of the Katyn exhibition, the Speaker of the Sejm said:

Today we have talked about the politics of the future and the present, but we remember the tragic moments in the history of the nations of this part of Europe. Katyń is a very important symbol for Poland. If we look at the map of Europe today, all nations have similar memorials relating to the 21st century.
Katyn is our common symbolic place and its aftermath that continues to this day. Not everyone recognizes that this crime took place, not everyone recognizes that it was a ludobmurder. We do not know how many representatives of different nations lie there. It is a place showing that totalitarianism cannot be considered a weapon in political functioning. No normal nation can agree to bypass the truth in its present cooperation. Katyn is a place where people of different religions, different nationalities lie. They are a certain indication of what we should be wary of when thinking about cooperation between nations. The fact that we are taking part in the opening of the exhibition about Katyń in Riga is a symbol. Together we must defend the truth, stand on the side of freedom and think in solidarity about good, decent, hard-working cooperation in one big Europe, remembering that the most important thing in all this is man.



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