Australian visit aimed to boost cooperation, meet compatriots - President

The Polish president thanked the Polish diaspora for being “honest, reliable and loyal citizens of Australia” and thus a good testimony of Poland. Jakub Szymczuk

President Andrzej Duda pointed out two reasons for his current visit to Australia - the desire to meet with compatriots living there and to develop international cooperation with the country.

“It was my great dream, in the year of Poland's independence centenary, to meet with my compatriots where they live in the largest communities, in all corners of the world,” the Polish president said during a Saturday meeting in Melbourne with the Governor of the state of Victoria, Linda Dessau.

He noted that in May he paid a visit to Chicago, where more than a million Poles live, and now he is visiting Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

Andrzej Duda also indicated the other reason for his visit to Australia is "associated with the dynamic development of Poland."

“We have great ambitions to develop our international cooperation, above all economic, and we want to persuade Polish entrepreneurs to invest abroad and actively invite investors from abroad,” he stressed.

Andrzej Duda stressed that this is the first official visit of the President of the Republic of Poland to Australia. “We believe (...) that it is time for us to carry out economic and political expansion all over the world. We do not have to confine ourselves to Europe,” he said. Duda added that he is the first president of an EU country that has come to Australia just after the start of negotiations on a free trade agreement between the EU and Australia.

“That is why I will meet with Australian entrepreneurs who are investing in Poland and want to invest in Poland,” the Polish president explained. “That is why I will take part in the Polish-Australian energy forum and attend the opening of an office of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) in Sydney.”

President Duda also presented state awards to Australians who rendered outstanding service to the Polish community in the country.

The Officer's Crosses of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland were awarded to the President of the Victorian Legislative Council, Bruce Atkinson, and the Federal Citizenship and Multicultural Minister, Alan Tudge. A member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, Natalie Suleyman, was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.

The Polish president thanked the Polish diaspora for being “honest, reliable and loyal citizens of Australia” and thus a good testimony of Poland.

The president also thanked Governor Dessau for her warm welcome at Government House, "one of the most important, most beautiful and oldest" buildings in Melbourne. As he said, the governor had offered that Government House become the residence of the Polish presidential couple for the time of their stay in the city.

Governor Dessau, whose father was born in Poland "at the exact time when Poland regained independence," said that since then, Poland has given the world several Nobel Prize winners and the Pope, and "created a strong, dynamic economy within the EU." She noted that the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence is an opportunity to emphasize the ties between the two countries. She pointed out that currently 180,000 people with Polish roots live in Australia and over 56,000 them reside in the state of Victoria.