President Duda urges Poles to make 2018 a year of national pride

Andrzej Duda Marcin Obara/PAP

In his New Year speech on Sunday, President Andrzej Duda urged Poland's citizens to make 2018 a year of national pride and civic community.

In the president's opinion, 2017 was another year of important changes in Poland as the government continued its efforts to build a state that served citizens and to reform state institutions and bodies so that they could function in a transparent way and under increased democratic control.

"Another year of successful efforts aimed at making Poland develop faster and in a well-designed manner, and to divide the fruits of this development in a fair way, is ending. The economy continues to grow, with millions of Polish families benefiting from it. Our internal and external security is based on strong foundations," Andrzej Duda noted.

Speaking of the New Year, Duda said that "during the ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence, we will recall and pay tribute to those who contributed to our freedom."

On November 11, Poland will mark the centenary of regaining independence in the aftermath of World War I, having been wiped off the map for more than a century.

The independence centenary is "an opportunity to rediscover the greatness of our history, to strengthen our national identity and pride in the remarkable achievements of past generations."

"It will also be a time for considering what kind of Poland we would like to pass on to our children and grandchildren," Duda said, referring to his initiative to hold a constitutional referendum in 2018 and let people decide whether the basic law needs amendment after more than two decades of being in force.

The president stressed the importance of Poland's two-year non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council, starting on January 1, saying that "Poland joins the group that makes decisions on the most important international policy issues while protecting peace."

"From January 1, the Republic of Poland will be one of 15 members of the United Nations Security Council. We will bring in our values, our centuries-long experience in striving for freedom, peace and cooperation between nations," Andrzej Duda stressed.

The president added he was looking forward to meeting Poles during various local and national events marking the independence centenary as well as during constitutional debates.

"I sincerely wish you and your loved ones peace, happiness in your families, prosperity, as well as fulfilment of all your plans and dreams in this New Year 2018," the president concluded.