John Paul II awoke solidarity, desire for freedom in Poles - PM

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in Poland's northern city of Gdańsk on Monday that the first pilgrimage to Poland by Pope John Paul II awoke solidarity and a desire for freedom in the Polish people.

The PM stressed that the pope placed family in the centre of social life and that this was a motto "guiding us today."

The prime minister made the statement during a conference headlined 'He awoke Solidarity in us. On the 40th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's first pilgrimage to Poland," held in the historic hall of the Gdańsk Shipyard.

"We are in a historic place, where Solidarity was born. But before its birth, John Paul II, the Polish-born pope, awoke this solidarity in us. His work and his words created a completely new space of thinking, a new space for the desire for freedom, independence and democracy," PM Morawiecki underlined.

"He brought to Poland something exceptional at a time of huge and deep divisions. There were us, and there were them - and the pope brought a seed of agreement. The Holy Father was the father of agreement among Poles," Morawiecki stressed.

The PM also declared that, "we want to represent people" and expressed his hope that, "we have been representing the majority of them." Let me invite all Poles to take part in our public and social life," he said, adding that the point was for as many people as possible "to benefit from economic growth as well as the fruits of freedom, justice and solidarity."

The prime minister also underscored that President Andrzej Duda wrote in a letter to the conference that, "the first pilgrimage to Poland by Pope John Paul II was an epoch event for Poland."

"The words the pope said in Warsaw awoke the spirit of freedom and became an impulse to activities which resulted in the Solidarity movement, and finally in the fall of communism," the president emphasised.

He stressed that a free Poland was a great desire of the pope. "The Holy Father also wanted Poland to become strong and rich through work," President Duda added.

Earlier in the day, PM Morawiecki laid flowers at the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers. He was accompanied by Deputy PM Piotr Gliński, Family and Labour Minister Elżbieta Rafalska and Solidarity trade union leader Piotr Duda.

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