Ladies and Gentlemen,
We spent day two of our visit in Brussels at the European Parliament. Rebecca Harms, Co-chair of the European Greens in the EP, invited us for 9 a.m. This was not our first meeting, but as usual, it was exceptionally amiable and productive. Rebecca is concerned with the state of democracy, not only in Poland but in the whole of Europe. This is why we discussed how our experiences in building a civil society, the fight for democracy and the rule of law could be transferred to the entire European community.
Our next appointment was at the invitation of the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz. This was our first meeting, since we were not able to meet in Strasbourg. What a great surprise. In the media, Martin Schulz comes across as a hard and uncompromising politician. In person, he turns out to be an exceptionally open, kind and warm-hearted man. Upon hearing of our plans and intentions, he certainly knew everything about our current work, he immediately asked – what can we do to help? He also encouraged us to reach out to the individual EU countries and offered to help in this regard.
After a lunch break, we met Janusz Lewandowski and together we visited Manfred Weber, the president of the largest political party in the European Parliament – EPP. As we had already met his co-workers but not Manfred himself, we told him of our history and KOD’s future plans. We also presented our ideas on the types of support from the European politicians that would help us most in maintaining democratic standards and how European politicians could assist us in building institutions, which would further our cause and help root it in the Polish and European political reality.
It was floor 5 and a half next (yes, there is such a floor in the EP building ;)) to see Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the European Liberals. We told Guy what we have been doing and what we have planned since our last meeting. We were wondering whether an organisation or movement operating in the EU could take advantage of the EU funds for support of democracy as the funds are usually directed to the countries outside the European Community. This could signal the need to re-define the remit and scope of the funding or to set up new funding for this purpose. We also talked about extending our activities to other European countries. Guy is a very charming interlocutor, and a very down-to-the-point partner for discussions and cooperation.
Our last official meeting was with the Polish MEPs from EPP at 6:30 p.m. Lots of questions, points of view and issues to clarify. The meeting originally planned for 45 minutes, was significantly extended. We had to impart a few bitter words to the representatives of the former coalition in Poland – we are all conscious that their neglect led to the current situation in Poland.
In the evening, we met with friends at our wonderful hosts’ – Aga and Robert’s – house. We thank them very much for putting us up for these three days, for the conversations until dawn and the invitation to stay at their place on our next visits.On Wednesday, the third day of our visit, we have more meetings at the EP and a press conference. We are also due to meet Frans Timmermans. We hope that his plans won’t change unexpectedly and we will be able to find out a bit more about current relations between Poland and our European Community.
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