What kind of solidarity does Europe need?

Today it is worth remembering two events that make September 8 a special day. In 1968 Ryszard Siwiec protested against the aggression of the Polish army against Czechoslovakia by self-immolating at Warsaw's 10th-Anniversary Stadium in the presence of party chairmen, diplomats, and 100,000 spectators. In his will, written before his departure for Warsaw, he asked that his cry be heard, "the cry of an ordinary, ordinary man, a son of the nation, who loved his own and others' freedom above all else, above his own life, come to your senses! It is not yet too late!"

The second symbolic date is September 8, 1981, when, in the words of President Reagan, "the voice of free men rang out." At that time, delegates gathered in Gdansk at the first Solidarity convention sent greetings and expressions of support to workers in the Eastern Bloc countries: "As the first independent trade union in our post-war history, we deeply feel the commonality of our fate. We assure you that, contrary to the lies spreading in your countries, we are an authentic, 10-million-strong organization of workers, established as a result of workers' strikes. Our goal is to fight to improve the livelihood of all working people. We support those of you who have decided to take the difficult road of struggle for a free trade union movement. We believe that soon you and our representatives will be able to meet to exchange trade union experiences." The message was condemned by Leonid Brezhnev, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, as an attempt by Solidarity to impose its rebellious ideas on neighboring countries and to interfere in their internal affairs.

Today, during the Economic Forum in Krynica, a plenary session entitled "What Solidarity Does Europe Need?" was held, in which Marek Kuchciński, Speaker of the Sejm, took the floor: - We must talk about solidarity and give it a new shape. We must work for the renewal of solidarity in Europe, recalling the great idea of Solidarity from 36 years ago - he said. - Then it will be easier for us to translate solidarity into practice," he explained. In his opinion, we need to "organise the principles of cooperation and EU regulations so that they are legible and understandable to all of us, and respect individual states and the community. - We need to arrange procedures within the framework of the European Union's functioning so that they are transparent and clear, and do not interfere with national competences at the level of parliaments and governments, as is the case with Poland today," he stressed. - Poland is among the countries affected by the communist trauma. For us sovereignty and independence is a value. Western European countries must accept this, otherwise a wall or a great divide will be created," argued the Speaker.

However, he warned against false solidarity, in the name of which a group of countries does not respect others, such as in the case of Nord Stream, built under the banner of energy solidarity.


The monument to Ryszard Siwiec in Prague/ Photo: Pawel Kula



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