The Warsaw Voice » Politics » Monthly - October 24, 2002
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State of the Union
President Aleksander Kwa¶niewski on the key tasks of Polish diplomacy (excerpts from a statement he delivered at the opening of the Diplomatic Academy):

European Union

This is the number-one task. Undoubtedly, we must successfully close our negotiations on EU membership by the end of this year. The closing of the negotiations within the designated time frame depends on our determination, will and perseverance. It also depends on the internal situation of member countries and on acceptance of the candidate countries in the current member states. The most difficult job is to finalize negotiations on financial matters and agriculture. We will probably not manage to avoid compromise in these areas, yet we rule out an option whereby Poland would be a net contributor in the first year of membership. We hope that the abilities, talents and effort of our diplomats will enable us to secure such terms.

Lasting international security

The tragedy of 9/11 has altered the perception and hierarchy of key values for international security, including Poland's own. It has left an impression on the agenda of the Atlantic Alliance. We must take an active part in working out new concepts for the Alliance, regardless of our decisive and consistent support of the further eastward enlargement of NATO, which should have its successful finale at the Prague summit. Polish diplomacy must make a major contribution to the development of the prospective vision of the Alliance. Poland should also continue to take an active part in the global coalition against international terrorism.
An issue of fundamental importance to Poland is close cooperation with the United States, a continued U.S. presence in Europe and the preservation of trans-Atlantic ties.

Poland in the region

Poland in NATO and the EU cannot turn its back on its eastern neighbors and on those countries in Central Europe which will not find their place in either organization. We should do everything—and this is the task of our diplomacy—to make Poland's voice not only better heard, but also listened to more attentively. This is a major qualitative difference. It underlies the Riga initiative, which I proposed some weeks ago at a conference in the Latvian capital, calling for close cooperation among countries in our region after the enlargement of NATO and the EU and for continued cooperation as part of the Visegrad Group and the "Vilnius 10." [AKA the V-10; includes Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia—ed]

Foreign economic ties

The responsibility of all of Polish diplomacy, not only commercial representative offices, should be to strive to develop Poland's economic cooperation with partners worldwide. This is especially important in the context of the country's difficult economic condition at the moment, with a gaping foreign trade deficit, untapped export opportunities and a much-needed greater inflow of foreign investment and capital to Poland.