President Ilves named Honorary Doctor of Catholic University of Lublin
“It is a great honour to be at the Catholic University of Lublin, which has long been a centre for moral resistance against tyranny, whether it be the tyranny of Nazis or communism,” said the President in his speech at the ceremony to bestow him doctor ho
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who is on a two-day working visit to the Republic of Poland, was today named an Honorary Doctor of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin.
“It is a great honour to be here today at the Catholic University in Lublin, a center of moral opposition to tyranny, be it Nazi or Communist,” said the President in his speech at the ceremony to bestow him doctor honoris causa.
According to the Head of State, many great Poles have come from the Catholic University of Lublin, including Karol Wojtyla, who served as head of the Chair of Ethics in the department of Philosophy before his election as Pope John Paul II.
In his speech, President Ilves commemorated President Lech Kaczyński and the alumni of the university, including Mr. Mariusz Handzlik, who was Deputy State Secretary of the Office of the President of Poland as well as being a good friend “with whom I just had spent an evening discussing the EU and NATO’s future merely a week before the tragedy.”.
When speaking about the European Union, President Ilves expressed his concern with the fact that even six years after Estonia, Poland, and several other countries joined the EU, these countries are still being referred to as “new” member states: “As we all are forced to concede, the so-called New Members simply are not taken as seriously as the older members of the Union.”
“Today, in fact the countries in Europe that have behaved responsibly in their economies, countries that follow the rules for fiscal policy are not the Old members, but rather the New,” stated President Ilves.
“I say that only by taking joint action can we overcome this classification into the new and the old,” said President Ilves. “We must not submit to such a mentality; our voice must be stronger.”
According to President Ilves, no member of the Union but Poland, who was the only one that showed economic growth in 2009, has a greater right to demand clarity in the European Union: “Moral clarity either in Foreign Policy or Fiscal Policy. Estonia stands with you,” the Head of State emphasised.
President Ilves also met with the Rectorate of the Catholic University of Lublin and placed flowers at the memorial of John Paul II and Cardinal Wyszyński.
Read the President's speech (in English) here.
In the evening, the Estonian Head of State will also visit the Powązki military graveyard in Warsaw, where he will place a wreath on the grave of the Polish diplomat and Deputy State Secretary of the Office of the President of Poland, Mr. Mariusz Handzlik, who died in a plane crash in Smolensk on 10th April.
Tomorrow, Thursday, in Warsaw, President Ilves will meet with the acting President of the Republic of Poland, the speaker of the Sejm, Mr. Bronisław Komorowoski and the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Radosław Sikorski.
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