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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish workers helped free Europe from communism: president

31.08.2020 17:30
As a result of determined opposition to communist rule, Poland’s Solidarity workers' movement in the 1980s brought freedom not only to its own nation but also the entire region of Eastern Europe, the Polish president said on Monday.
President Andrzej Duda speaks in the Polish Baltic city of Gdańsk on Monday.
President Andrzej Duda speaks in the Polish Baltic city of Gdańsk on Monday.Photo: PAP/Adam Warżawa

Speaking at an event to mark 40 years since the country's former communist government signed a landmark agreement with striking workers calling for greater freedoms, Andrzej Duda said that Solidarity helped free the “entire part of Europe beyond the Iron Curtain."

"Yes, it was Solidarity that led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and it was Solidarity that enabled Germany to unite," Duda added.

He also said that Solidarity “grew out of a great desire and demand for dignity.”

“The participants of the events of August 1980 wanted normality and human dignity for everyone, their compatriots and others,” Duda said in the Baltic port of Gdańsk on Monday.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the gathering that Solidarity was not “only a lesson in history, but also a great task and an obligation for the years and generations to come.”

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addresses the gathering. Photo: PAP/Adam Warżawa Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addresses the gathering. Photo: PAP/Adam Warżawa

On August 31, 1980, Poland’s communist authorities reached a sweeping accord with striking workers at the Gdańsk shipyard that led to the establishment of Solidarity, the first independent trade union in communist Eastern Europe.

In a message to mark the 40th anniversary of that milestone, the Polish president said last week that “August 1980 was the foundation of a free Poland” and "a historic breakthrough that gave rise to momentous changes that transformed Europe and the world."

He added that the events in Poland at the time became an inspiration for other nations and eventually culminated in the fall of communism throughout Eastern Europe.

The US ambassador to Warsaw, Georgette Mosbacher, said on Monday that communism would not have fallen in Europe in the late 1980s “without the agreement signed in August which led to the creation of Solidarity.”

(gs)

Source: PAP