PM Morawiecki: Every serious state must guard its reputation

2018-02-05, 19:51 update: 2018-09-26, 18:26
PM Morawiecki: Every serious state must guard its reputation Archive photo PAP/Leszek Szymański
PM Morawiecki: Every serious state must guard its reputation Archive photo PAP/Leszek Szymański
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday that every serious state must look after its history, reputation and historical truth.

Addressing the annual conference on political and economic risks and trends, "Ryzyka i Trendy," organised by the analysis and advisory firm, Polityka Insight, PM Morawiecki referred to the controversy surrounding Poland's new anti-defamation bill.

The draft legislation was passed by Polish parliament last week and President Andrzej Duda has until late February to decide whether to sign it into law. The bill introduces fines and prison terms for those who falsely accuse Poland of crimes, for example by calling the World War II Nazi German death camps "Polish."

The bill was criticised by Israel, Ukraine and the US State Department on the grounds that it could silence Holocaust survivors and scholars who have something negative to say about the conduct of Polish individuals during WWII.

As the head of government noted, when lawmakers passed the bill, a discussion began on whether it was in Poland's best interests to reject it or, on the contrary, make it law.

"I am firmly of the opinion that every serious state must look after its history, its reputation and historical truth," PM Morawiecki stated.

"This truth then translates into greater power in real activities," he added, "this means superior 'soft power' and so, it follows, greater power on the international scene."

According to the head of government, Poland and its history "should have at least been, in a way, the queen of world memory, yet over the past 25 years, it has become a convenient whipping boy."

"And I firmly believe that if anything needs to be further clarified, we should make explanations to our partners and friends," the leader of the cabinet said, "but we must ensure that, as the German Foreign Minister said, this very difficult historical truth is upheld, while the responsibility for it and for what happened, is correctly attributed."

On Saturday, Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stated that Poland can rest assured Berlin will condemn any falsification of history.

"This organised mass murder," Gabriel added with reference to the Holocaust, "was perpetrated by our country and no one else. The actions of individual collaborators do not alter that fact."

PM Morawiecki emphasised that "whatever needs to be explained, obviously must be explained," adding that dialogue was indispensable to any agreement.

"But our national interest entails precisely that we fight for this truth," the head of the government said, "because that way, on the basis of such truth, we will really be able to build better, truthful, deeper relations with our partners."

Last Thursday, as agreed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, PM Morawiecki appointed a special team for dialogue with Israel on legal and historical matters. The new body is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki. (PAP)


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