On Saturday the 24th of November in Krasiczyn, Marek Kuchciński, Speaker of the lower house of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) met László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary. Cooperation between both parliaments was on the agenda. Joint actions by the Visegrád Group within the scope of the European Union were also discussed.
- Cooperation between Poland and Hungary is practically a tradition. It goes back centuries. And today we are further encouraged to join forces by the challenges we are facing - said Marek Kuchciński in his opening speech.
The Speaker of the Sejm emphasised the need to find new forms to achieve even greater cooperation. László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly concurred. In his opinion parliamentary diplomacy and cooperation between Polish and Hungarian institutions are an important element of the efforts of both governments to nurture mutual relations.
- In this context, governments can use parliaments and institutions promoting Polish - Hungarian culture to indicate which enterprises are worth undertaking in order to build a future for Polish - Hungarian friendship and to promote it within the EU as exemplary European cooperation - said László Kövér.
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Prof. Maciej Szymanowski, Wacław Felczak Polish-Hungarian Cooperation Institute director and advisor to the Speaker of the Sejm together with Karol Biernacki, chairman of the Wacław Felczak Foundation (operating in Hungary) presented drafts for joint initiatives for the development of educational and cultural cooperation. According to prof. Szymanowski, the initiatives aim to stress the numerous moments in our joint history which stand testament to the powerful bonds between the two countries.
The Institutes are planning to engage both the Polish and the Hungarian media in promoting the Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship. An idea entailing joint works on materials to be used during history lessons in Polish and Hungarian schools, and which would highlight the significance of our thousand year old friendship was also discussed. Declarations were made to support the teaching of Polish in Hungary and that of Hungarian in Poland at primary schools and high schools, and also to initiate translation programmes in order to double the number of published translations of books and monographs about Poland and Hungary.
Developing a concept for a joint exhibition depicting the growth of parliamentarism in Poland and Hungary, to be presented on the European forum, will also be an important initiative. Sándor Őze, Head of the History Department at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest, demonstrated the numerous similarities between the Polish and Hungarian history of parliamentarism.
- The Golden Bull of 1222 issued by King Andrew II of Hungary may be seen as the beginning of parliamentarism in Hungary. It contains provisions constraining the royal power, similar to the liberties granted in Poland which the Noble's Parliamentarism was built upon - explains the Hungarian historian.
He also added that Poles and Hungarians were always brought together by the idea of a struggle for freedom and independence. Here Józef Bem and Tadeusz Kościuszko are prime examples. Karol Biernacki, chairman of the Wacław Felczak Foundation (operating in Hungary) also announced the opening of an exhibition in Budapest devoted to Polish mathematicians who broke the "Enigma" cipher. Jerzy Snopek, the Polish Ambassador to Hungary will be the honorary patron of the exhibition.
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After talks between the Polish and Hungarian delegations, Marek Kuchciński and László Kövér met the 1st Polish - Hungarian School of Leaders participants. The event was organised by the Wacław Felczak Institute. Nearly two hundred young people from both countries, mainly students, took part.
Speaker Kuchciński emphasised that the school of leaders provides an excellent opportunity to talk to youth about the common values and the centuries old friendship between our nations.
- If we look at our common history, every generation witnessed distinguished Poles and Hungarians fighting together for independence. This strengthens our feeling of a shared past and bodes well for the cooperation to flourish in future - he explained.
On the other hand László Kövér said that Polish - Hungarian bilateral cooperation and also that within the scope of the Visegrád Group will become a significant element in establishing the setting for the looming European Union reformation process. Particularly taking into account the recent economic performance by the V4 countries.
- We have to treat each other as equals and as free peoples. Sometimes, taking into account the meanders of history, such an attitude may present a challenge. However it is the most rational way ahead, as it entails mutual cooperation, which provides us with an opportunity to defend against the unwanted trends from the East and the West. At the same time it may become an inspiration for building a stronger and better Europe - summarised Marek Kuchciński.
A joint interview by the Speakers of the Polish and Hungarian Parliaments for the "Gość Wiadomości" programme crowned the event.
Deputy Speaker of the Sejm Beata Mazurek, Senior Speaker of the Sejm Kornel Morawiecki, Sejm Deputy and Secretary of State at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and Deputy Chief of Staff at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister Paweł Szrot also represented Poland during the bilateral talks. The Hungarian delegation included Deputy Speakers of the National Assembly of Hungary Janos Latorcai and Sándor Lezsak, Member of the Hungarian National Assembly Richárd Hörscik, the Hungarian Ambassador to Poland Orsolya Zsuzanna Kovács, Halina Csúcs, member of Polonia Consultancy Board by the Senate, and the Consul General of Hungary Adrienne Körmendy,