Duda presents five-point coronavirus recovery plan to European leaders

"Let's treat this current time as a challenge, that we must meet mindful of future generations," Duda concluded. Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

In a letter to European leaders, Polish President Andrzej Duda has written that the time has come to consider how the world and international cooperation will look once the coronavirus pandemic has been defeated, and proposed a five-point plan.

The letter was sent on Wednesday to the leaders of EU countries as well as countries of the Eastern Partnership and the Western Balkans, among others. In the text, the Polish president states that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced European governments to undertake "quick, definite decisions, whose main aim was to maximally limit the number of infections and to save the greatest number of people."

Duda noted that in the case of many states, the enforced freezing of the economy has already lasted almost two months, causing costs that are currently hard to estimate.

"However, I have no doubt that that decision, however difficult, was right, because the main task of governments is to protect the lives and security of citizens, even at the cost of negative effects on GDP growth, which in the future we will be in a position, I am convinced, to work back," the letter stated.

In this context, Duda wrote, "the time has come to jointly consider how the world and international cooperation will look after the coronavirus pandemic has been overcome."

"Without doubt the current extraordinary situation has shown that in the event of global crises, geographical distance, wealth and military strength are not the only ways to ensure effective protection of our citizens and states," Duda continued.

He went on to say that the tight networks of connections between individual economies, which had previously been seen as a great asset, has now become in part a burden. According to the president, there is also a lack of effective global tools to manage crises on a global scale. He added that following the initial shock of the pandemic, the crisis has shown that world leaders are capable of cooperation in solidarity, which has brought concrete results, which he suggested would be a good starting point for considering the pathways for selected aspects of international policy.

In his five-point plan, President Duda outlined: the need to strive for cooperation in increasing health care systems at the national level as well as working out effective mechanisms for inter-state aid. Economic rescue activities undertaken by governments should to a greater extent than now "take care not only on high GDP growth but also sustainable development of countries in different dimensions, including in the just and effective division of funds among the needy,' Duda suggested.

He said the epidemic period "should not dull our sensitivity to issues that have been a priority to date," referring to the "necessity of further execution of international law, as a tool to build a secure and peaceful world of free countries without zones of influence.

In his fourth point, the Polish head of state highlighted the need to further strengthen military security. He said the epidemic status should not be a cause for short-sighted savings as old threats such as terrorism and imperial ambitions, unfortunately, remain.

The fifth and final point of the plan concerned action towards environmental protection in light of the expected global economic crisis. "We should together find ways to meet the demands of climate policy with elements of social and developmental policy," Duda wrote.

He wrote that he would like the year 2020 to go down in history not only as the year of the coronavirus outbreak but also of the emergence of a new international policy, adding that tensions and rivalries should now give way to a sense of co-responsibility and active solidarity.

"Let's treat this current time as a challenge, that we must meet mindful of future generations," President Duda concluded.