"We can offer very much to Europe: share our experience of a compromise culture and solidarity, and cope together with the still existing divisions," the President underlined in Lublin
Continuing his working visit to Lublin, Poland, the President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus participated in the commemoration of the 440th anniversary of the Union of Lublin, a union between Lithuania and Poland formed back in 1569.
In his address, President Adamkus underlined one could not overestimate the importance of the common state of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland. According to the Head of State, their shared history that had lasted 200 years saw common enemies, victories, downfalls, destiny. This was, according to Mr. Adamkus, only a small part of the common life, friendship and discord among Lithuania and Poland as political nations and ordinary people.
"It was our first ‘union', the marriage of Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania and Queen Jadwiga of Poland, that gave a start for closer relations between the two nations and for the establishment of the Jagiellonian Dynasty in the European states as early as in the XIV century, whereas the formation of the image of ‘brother Poles/Lithuanians' started yet earlier, when, since the Union of Horodło, Polish noble families were giving their coats of arms to Lithuanian nobles," the President said.
The President expressed confidence the Union could serve as an example of a strong and durable partnership. According to the President, at approximately the same time, marriages unified the Luxembourgs in the Czech Republic, formed the Kalmar Union in Scandinavia, and completed the unification process of Aragon and Castile in Spain.
"But of all the inter-dynastical unions, the union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuanian and the Kingdom of Poland survived longest and turned into the Commonwealth of Two Nations. The history of the strength of the Lublin Union should be told as a history of equal partners and a culture of compromises. Compromises helped Lithuanians and Poles to preserve their traditions of sovereignty and build loyalty to the Commonwealth of Two Nations together," President Adamkus said, emphasising the compromise as an example for the European Union to follow: no matter how difficult a compromise might be to take, compromises today are a must for the sake of common security and well-being.
"Finally, our strength lay in our values. The traditions of the civil societies of this state formed of equal political partners became important for the development of the entire Europe," the President said and underlined the Constitution of 3 May 1791 together with its addendum of 20 October with the Mutual Pledge of the Two Nations was one of the most important achievements of the European civilisation of the XVIII century, as it had highlighted the ideals of freedom and equality of people.
According to the President, thanks to the Commonwealth of Two Nations the fight for civil rights and the freedom of nations has turned into a slogan that unites, even today, the people of our once-common state - Lithuanians, Poles, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Jews, Tartars, Karaites, who have always been, and still are, European nations and who have always wanted, and will always want, freedom for their nations and people, and will always want to live in a modern state as members of the European family.
The Lithuanian larder underlined the Commonwealth of Two Nations was the Homeland for such prominent personalities as Mathias Casimirus Sarbievius, Kazimieras Semenovičius, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Adam Bernard Mickiewicz, Julius Slovackis.
The President said the anniversary of the Lublin Union took a special place among other important historical dates commemorated this year. "This year we also commemorate the 20th anniversaries of the victory of Solidarity in Poland and the Baltic Way. Therefore, we can even say: ‘From the Lublin Union to the collapse of communism'. That strong and durable were the ideals cherished by this state," President Adamkus said.
According to the Head of State, neither stereotypes of the beginning of the XX century nor nationalistic and communistic propaganda could erase what had been written in the memory of the nations. The President recalled the hand of help offered by the Polish people to Lithuania on its way to independence, and the words in a song by Jacek Kaczmarski, a Polish poet in the fight for freedom: "Neighbour Lithuania has independence and I feel more independent myself".
"Being here in Lublin, I believe we will still find many different compromises together. I believe we will never again have an external opinion pressed on us, and will resist any attempts to form stereotypes or to shatter our unity. We needed this unity in the past, and we will need it in the future, for a strong Europe in the world. I am confident we can offer very much to Europe: share our experience of a compromise culture and solidarity, and cope together with the still existing divisions," the President said.
In the evening, President Adamkus will go to Toruń to attend the opening ceremony of the Lithuanian-Polish House. The President will meet with members of Toruń community in Toruń University and present a book about his presidency published in the Polish language.
Press Service of the President