TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

"In Poland some people want to erase 1989". Macron gave lecture at Jagiellonian University

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

TVN24 News in English, PAP
President Macron arrives at the PM's Chancellery in Warsaw
TVN24President Macron arrives at the PM's Chancellery in Warsaw

The EU is not only a common market, but also common values, unique on a world scale, and Poland also must respect these values - French President Emmanuel Macron said in Tuesday's lecture at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow.

The French president directed his words mostly to the youngest listeners - the hall at the Collegium Novum was filled mostly with students, but scholars and lecturers were also present. The lecture was broadcast in the internet.

In his lecture, President Macron touched upon many issues - he spoke about common history and values shared by the French and Polish, about challenges that await the younger generations, drawing special attention to the need of building common Europe. "We won't build common Europe while forgetting Europe itself. We will build Europe by knowing its history, by protecting it from any attempts to falsify or rewrite it, regardless of which country or what party would make such attempts" - Macron said and called for common European memory. "I see there some are tempted in Poland to erase the year 1989. In Hungary there is the same tendency to write the history of 20th century from the scratch. Russia would like reinterpret the WWII and shift the blame on the Polish nation. I can see a risk of such dispersion of our history, through its revision" - he said.

Emmanuel Macron during his lecture in CracowTVN24

He stressed that "Poland wasn't responsible for the WWII outbreak, she was its victim and a country which suffered the most human losses in relation to population". "These are facts, scientific and historical facts" - Macron said accentuating French nation's solidarity with the Polish one, against those trying to negate the reality.

Furthermore, French president underscored Poland's long history of freedom. He listed a number of figures like Lech Wałęsa, Jacek Kuroń, Adam Michnik, Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, Jacek Woźniakowski and Kornel Morawiecki.

Hope for European renaissance

Mr Macron added that it was important "to look history right into its eyes" and to speak proudly that "the Polish nation is brave, very industrious, having a spirit of entrepreneurship, it's a nation cherishing poetry and tradition, a deeply European nation, a nation which contributed to the development of mankind". Here Macron paid tribute to Polish laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel Prize in Literature.

He stressed at the same time it was important "not to become prisoners of the past, which would hold us in hatred or nationalism". "There can no Europe which won't be able to process it history. On the other hand, hope can emerge from history, hope for European renaissance, similar to the one my and your countries experienced in 16th and 17th centuries. I believe that such renaissance is still possible, as long as our continent is able to unite through intelligence and ability of such approach in the future" - Macron said.

French president underscored that France has never been indifferent to Poland's voice. "Our two nations, which never fought each other in a thousand-year-long history of European wars, are very close to one another" - he said and added that Poland and France share the same aspiration for freedom, deep ties to land, as well as belief in the importance of history and nation.

Patriotic and European

In the context of Europe's challenges, Macron pointed to the problem of demographics. In his view, the problem of aging society may lead to another European crisis. He also argued that one way to handle this situation would be to perceive Europe as not only "one big market", but rather as political commonwealth. Moreover, he claimed that extreme political parties emerge primarily in countries having the biggest problem with demographics.

President Macron said the EU is not just a common market, but also common values, which are unique on a world scale and - he stressed - "Poland also must respect these values". He added that no country has the right to dictate another how to act, but at the same time, the European Commission has to safeguard the rules of European integration. He also stressed the importance of the "European project", thanks to which Europe would regain balance. He explained this project should be based on unification, but also on diversity. In his opinion, it's possible to be a patriot and a European. "I'm a patriot. I love France, I defend it, but I'm also a European" - he said. Macron then called to not agree to the weakening of Europe. "We must not agree to the weakening of Europe, and Poland also must not close itself to Europe" - he said. He stressed that Poles are strongly attached to European values, and Europe is one in its kind. "This is what I believe. This is a civilisation having culture and religion in its core, as well history of philosophy, common characteristics" - he explained.

President Duda gave his French counterpart a gift: Henryk Sienkiewicz's "Quo vadis" and Olga Tokarczuk's "The Books of Jacob" in French translationJakub Szymczuk/KPRM

Russia and climate change

The French leader argued that arms race is today's reality and that it's necessary to protect Poland and the whole Europe. This means - said Macron - that a dialogue with Russia is necessary, also in order to find solution regarding Ukraine. He repeated the words he said on Monday when he met with President Andrzej Duda and PM Mateusz Morawiecki: "France is neither pro-Russian, nor anti-Russian, but pro-European".

"I'm sure we can build Europe of trust, as long as we are able to establish a dialogue with Russia. We must not forget what Russia has done and what it is doing, yet maybe we should demand de-escalation from it" - Macron said. He added that the Europeans should be aware of its own limitations, among other things, in defense and cybersecurity.

The President of France also talked about energy transformation. In his view, Poland's future in the 21st century depends on such transformation and that it can go through this process with the help of Europe. Climate change - Macron argued - is the challenge that the young generations will have to face. "In this respect we can only be trustworthy as Europe, as Europe is making changes in response to climate change. Only this way can we convince China to take the same path" - President Macron said.

"Europe is Not Yet Lost"

Referring to Poland's and other Eastern European states' joining the EU, Macron said it was an extension "as if we were stretching some body - but rather a unification of Europe after the wall's collapse".

French head of state concluded his lecture by quoting famous lines in Polish: "Who are you, a Little Pole" (line from a patriotic poem by Władysław Bejza "Catechism of a Polish child") and "Poland is Not Yet Lost" (opening line of the first stanza of Poland's national anthem - the "Dąbrowski's Mazurka"). He also used these lines again but in the context of united Europe - "Who are you, a Little European" and "Europe is Not Yet Lost".

The lecture and meeting with the university board were the final points of president Macron's first official visit to Poland. Before arriving the university campus, the French president visited the Royal Castle and the Wawel Cathedral. He also spoke with tourist there. The day before, on Monday, Macron visited Warsaw where he met with President Andrzej Duda, PM Mateusz Morawiecki, as well as with Speakers of the Sejm and the Senate.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24

Pozostałe wiadomości