• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland



  • A debate co-organised by the Schuman Thought Institute (Instytut Myśli Schumana) was hosted at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday. The wider title of the debate was "Schuman's Idea of Europe" and its main theme was the community of European nations and cooperation within the community, said Prof. Zbigniew Krysiak, the director of the Institute.

    The debate titled "Schuman's idea of Europe: the Community as an alternative to federation and international organization", was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Renata Szczęch, representatives of the Schuman Thought Institute and the ambassadors of several countries, including Hungary, Moldova, Ukraine in addition to representatives of non-governmental organizations, including Ordo Iuris and the founder of the Estera Foundation, Miriam Shaded.

    In her speech, Deputy Minister Szczęch stressed that today we are at a very important moment in the history of European integration. 

    "The consequences of the economic crisis are still an element of reflection in the European Union," she said. 

    "Just one week ago, one of the biggest members of the EU – Great Britain – began negotiating to leave the EU," the deputy minister noted.

    She said that the EU will now have to face the challenge that Brexit poses to the European community. 

    "We should begin to think unconventionally about European integration," she said. 

    According to Deputy Minister Szczęch, Schuman's idea of Europe is a valuable source of inspiration for the debate on the future of Europe.

    Asked by PAP about what are in her opinion the most important challenges facing the EU, she said that they relate to a wide range of issues, including migration, Brexit, as well as values: social, political and religious views. 

    "We see how much they play a role in the present world, affecting every area of the European community," she added.

    "The Schuman Declaration goes a long in way in implementing our country’s policies based on Christian values, our policies tackling the challenges currently inherent in migration policy and Brexit, and we want to propagate it,” the Deputy Foreign Minister said. 

    She said that Schuman's ideas should be more strongly emphasized in foreign policy.

    Asked by PAP whether EU treaties should be changed given the challenges facing Europe, she said that there are extreme views on the issue, adding that she is skeptical about the ideas that have appeared in the media debate regarding what these changes would concern.  

    "The most important thing is to have a platform where an honest exchange of views can take place," the deputy minister stressed. 

    "So that we are not surprised by decisions, as has often been done by the European Commission for example, where these decisions are made without knowledge, without discussion, without analysis," she added.

    As an example, she gave the issue of regulation changes regarding the functioning of Polish companies in the transport and logistics sector.

    “I hope that the wise, Christian Europe, a Europe based on principles, will defend itself in dialogue between countries with different interests, with different views," the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

    Professor Zbigniew Krysiak stated in his speech that the main topic of debate is not the European Union but rather the society of European nations.  

    "We want to ask the question: how can we build a community of nations and cooperate? How can we build a common relationship?” he said.

    He pointed out that Robert Schuman's idea of Europe was the starting point for the conversation.

    Speaking to PAP, Prof. Krysiak stressed that the Schuman Thought Institute's plan was to organize a series of quarterly debates that began during the 1st Schuman European Festival in Wilanow on May 13 2017.

    "We would like to suggest a formula that would include the Schuman Thought Institute, for example together with the Norwegian, German, Swiss, Luxembourgish Embassy, etc., so that in future debates we show or encourage people from these countries to express themselves, so that they show their national values in the context justifying the thesis of the sense of creating a European community of nations,” he said.

    “There is a need to come up with a proposal, a revision. The UK is leaving, maybe others will leave soon - it's not a question of the UK not wanting to build relationships with other nations in Europe. It just isn’t the case, there is just the need for an agreement with the community,” the professor added. 

    He pointed out that the debate on Monday takes place in a very concrete context. 

    “At the moment, this is a very concrete concept. The president of the United States is visiting and he seems to see a very important force at play here, not an alternative force, but a force that will completely change how Europe functions,” he said. 

    Professor Krysiak said that it is now possible to talk about the "inferior role" of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. 

    As an example he gave the issue of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Poland is opposed to. 

    “Schuman talked about solidarity, and here the solidarity has clearly been broken. It seems that it is difficult to speak to reason, and thus the formation of such coalitions as the Three Seas Initiative or the V4 may finally lead to new thinking within this, one might say, ossified format,” he added.

    The debate has been divided into two parts. The second part, which takes place without the participation of the media, includes remarks by ambassadors, and the whole discussion will be summarized by Deputy Foreign Minister Renata Szczęch and the president of the Schuman Thought Institute. 

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