President Duda offers insight on EU development at Rome summit

In Duda's view, for the EU to be a truly European project the bloc must pursue "an open door policy" and "cannot be (an exclusive) club." Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

Polish President Andrzej Duda at the annual meeting of the Arraiolos Group in Rome on Wednesday described the European Union as an "absolutely perfect project" and offered ideas on how to strengthen its international standing.

The Arraiolos Group gathers the presidents of countries whose prime ministers take part in EU summits.

"What certainly unites all of us is a deep conviction and deep commitment to the European project as something absolutely perfect that was invented for Europe... within the past century," the Polish president said after the meeting.

Duda said that during the plenary session he had proposed three solutions for the EU "to become an increasingly influential and important global player."

According to Duda, the European Union should strengthen its own defensive resources and capabilities but this must not come at the expense of transatlantic relations and the North Atlantic Alliance.

"This should be done by creating a synergy effect and, therefore, in close cooperation," he said.

In Duda's view, for the EU to be a truly European project the bloc must pursue "an open door policy" and "cannot be (an exclusive) club."

"We can't disappoint all those whom we have promised over the years that if they meet the conditions, they will become part of the European Union. These people deeply believe in their EU-future, they strive for it, they make a lot of sacrifices to ensure it and they cannot be failed," he said.

He also said that the use of terms such as 'autonomy' or 'strategic sovereignty' in the context of the European Union "must include respect for the nation states."

The Rome event was the sixteenth meeting of the Arraiolos Group, founded in 2003 on the initiative of Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio. The name derives from the city in Portugal where the first meeting of the presidents of Austria, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Hungary and Italy took place. Later, Slovenia, Croatia, Estonia and Bulgaria joined the group, followed by Malta and Greece.

In 2024, the meeting of the Arraiolos Group will be held in Poland.