Monday morning

Published 11 May 2015 in:

Photo: Catarina Axelsson/MFA

westerplatte Monday morning. New week after the very intensive one we have behind us. And of course after the first round of the presidential elections. We need to give some preliminary comments to Stockholm, but since the final results are yet to come our final report will be sent later this week.

Last week was filled with some really remarkable experiences. Like the moving funeral of professor Bartoszewski last Monday. Like the inspiring meeting with students from the Foreign Affairs Students’ Association at the Warsaw School of Economics and their “Action Diplomacy 2015” in our Residence. Like the Schuman Parade on Europe Day May 9th. And – not least – like the commemoration of the End of World War 2 in Gdańsk and Westerplatte Thursday-Friday.

I am so happy that Sweden was represented on a high level, through Minister Aida Hadzialic (from Ministry of Education) and her delegation. It was such an important and memorable event. It is definitely one of the most extraordinary memories, that I will bring with me from my four years in Poland.

First of all because of the ceremony at Westerplatte. It made a lot of sense to commemorate the end of the war in the place where it started. And the ceremony itself around midnight was short, dignified and definitely moving.

Secondly: I had the opportunity to listen both to the panel of the historians and to the the panel of the politicians in the Solidarity centre earlier Thursday evening.

From that very rich discussion I take with me several significant messages and impressions. Like what Timothy Snyder (author of “Bloodlands”) said about the need for countries to first of all deal with the dark sides of their history rather than with the heroic ones. And the strong message from Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko about the Europan choice of his country and its belief in the values that Europe stands for: justice, solidarity, freedom and democracy.

History must never be allowed to repeat itself.

Many, many more lessons could and should be learned from the atrocities of World War 2. But a fundamental one is related to the values. The need for us all to stand up for them whenever they are challenged. That is to a large extent also what the EU is all about. And what we rightly celebrated at Europe Day May 9th.

New week now. And a new hectic as well as interesting Schedule. Starting with a trip to Olsztyn tomorrow together with my colleague Józef Neterowicz on the invitation by the Wojewoda, Marian Podziewski. We will discuss i.a. cleantech-issues and also visit the University, where I will give a lecture on drivers of economic growth agenda including the internal and digital market in the EU, free trade and gender equality.

Last week I met students twice, the second time the students in Swedish in the SWPS University here in Warsaw. It is always a great experience.

I look forward to tomorrow.