Polish president and pope discuss need for respect among countries

President Andrzej Duda said that during his meeting with Pope Francis, both parties discussed the need for the EU to return to mutual respect in relations between states, as well as respect for the cultural diversity that exists in the individual countries.

President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda were received by Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday morning. The presidential couple was accompanied by presidential ministers Krzysztof Szczerski, Paweł Mucha, Andrzej Dera and Adam Kwiatkowski, as well as Minister of Agriculture Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski.

The Polish president also had a face-to-face meeting with the pope, which lasted nearly a half-hour.

After the papal audience, President Duda also met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Andrzej Duda noted that one of the topics of his talks with the Pope was the European Union and "if there is a chance for the EU to emerge from the crises in which it is immersed."

According to the Polish president, there such a chance exists "provided that there is a change in the way of thinking." "We need to return to the values from which the European Union grew, which guided the EU fathers when they established the community," Duda stated.

"Pope Francis mentioned the German chancellor Konrad Adenauer and I also talked about (Robert) Schuman, about (Alcide) De Gasperi, about the ideas that guided them," President Duda continued. "These ideas grew out of Judaeo-Christian roots and these are the values that shaped the EU - the will to cooperate among nations, to create a community," he added.

The head of the Polish state stressed that he meant the community in terms of "an alliance in which there is a mutual understanding of needs, interests and concerns." As he added, we need to seek solutions that make every country feel respected. Duda said that this was the topic of his conversation with both the Pope and Cardinal Parolin.

The presidential couple's visit to Vatican is connected with the 40th anniversary of the election of Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II, falling on October 16. On that day the presidential couple will take part in a Mass at the tomb of Saint John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica.