Polish PM discusses Poland's WW2 role with world leaders

Polish PM discusses Poland's WW2 role with world leaders. JACK HILL/PAP/EPA

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki at a lunch during the D-Day landings anniversary ceremonies recalled Poland's role during the Second World War and presented Poland's recent economic achievements, Polish Ambassador to the UK Arkady Rzegocki has told PAP.

PM Morawiecki attended the ceremonies on Wednesday in Portsmouth, a port city on England's southern coast. Present were also British Queen Elizabeth II and the leaders of 15 countries, including US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, as well as many other guests of honour.

A special lunch was held for the leaders during the observances.

During the lunch, British PM Theresa May, just after a short address by the US president, asked PM Morawiecki to present the Polish perspective on WWII.

The prime minister emphasised that the Second World War started on September 1, 1939 by the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, and just over two weeks later the country was attacked from the east by the Soviet Union. Mateusz Morawiecki stressed the heroism of Poles in their defensive campaign.

"The prime minister said that practically every Polish family suffered some loss during WWII. He stressed that during the six years, around 3,000 people died in Poland every day, a total of six million Polish citizens perished and Poland suffered tremendous losses during the war," Rzegocki reported.

PM Morawiecki also underscored material losses that Poland suffered due to the destruction of its capital as well as many other cities and villages, and due to the looting of works of art. He also pointed out that the occupation halted Poland's economic growth.

The head of government also stressed that Poland, which fought on all fronts, and participated in the D-Day landings as well, found itself on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain when the war ended and communism stifled the country's innovation and economic growth and reduced its access to modern technologies.

PM Morawiecki recalled Polish-born Pole John Paul II's first pilgrimage to Poland which 40 years ago initiated very significant changes in the country and later on in the whole of Central and Eastern Europe. "He also mentioned the Solidarity (first trade union independent from the communist government) revolution of 1980 and the changes that led to the fall of communism in 1989," the ambassador said.

Then Morawiecki went on to present Poland's economic growth since 1989. "He underlined that we are one of the fastest-growing countries, which met with huge admiration among the listeners," Rzegocki said.

The PM described Poland as a unique country due to Poles' pro-European and pro-American approach. "In this context the prime minister mentioned transatlantic ties which show that if we act together - and D-Day is a good symbol of this - we can achieve common goals," Rzegocki went on to say.

US President Donald Trump made a direct reference to PM Morawiecki's words, expressing from the very beginning a positive attitude towards Poland. "He expressed his huge admiration for the economic growth, for all that we have managed to achieve in recent years," Rzegocki reported.

Asked whether the participants noted the absence of a representative of Russia, the ambassador explained that this was noted by the Polish PM. "Russia was mentioned as one of the countries that unfortunately pose a challenge, pose a threat in some areas for Western countries, for free countries," he said.

The growing role of Poland and Central Europe was also underscored at the lunch. "This also included the fact that we can jointly cooperate on the shape of this partnership, on energy security, on various technological threats, and that it all requires cooperation in the spirit of solidarity," Rzegocki reported.

The June 6, 1944 Normandy landings initiated the Western Allies' liberation of mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II.