“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army, I hereby notify belligerent and neutral governments and nations of the existence of an Independent Polish State, within all the territories of the united Poland” – with these words Józef Piłsudski addressed the heads of world powers and notified them about the formation of the Second Polish Republic.
On 16 November 2020, we will celebrate Foreign Service Day. The day honours the work of Polish diplomats and other employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It marks the anniversary of the telegram Józef Piłsudski sent on 16 November 1918 to world leaders to inform them about the establishment of an independent Polish State.
This has been an exceptional year for Poland’s foreign policy. It has abounded in anniversaries that are important both for Poland and for the whole of Europe. The most important of these include: the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s birth, the centenary of the Battle of Warsaw, and the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Solidarity movement. The cement holding together these events and the leitmotif of promotional campaigns worldwide has been our desire to show the profound significance of such values as freedom and solidarity.
The year 2020 also marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and of the establishment of the United Nations. Another important topic is Poland’s presidency of the Visegrad Group (July 2020 – June 2021), a format of regional cooperation which in February 2021 will also mark the 30th anniversary of its formation.
After the pandemic outbreak, Polish diplomacy provided help in returning home for Poles even in the world’s most remote locations, including Peru, Chad, Goa, or Japan. There were return flights from 71 locations worldwide. Besides Polish citizens, the #LOTdoDomu campaign helped over 2,000 people from other countries. Over just 22 days, LOT Polish Airlines provided 388 special charter flights which enabled more than 55,000 people to return home safely.
Assistance offered by Poland during the pandemic had a wider dimension. We also organised visits of Polish doctors, nurses and paramedics from the Polish Center for International Aid to Italy, USA, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. To Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova, we dispatched lorries carrying medical supplies. Poland’s assistance measures are an important part of our foreign policy pursued during the COVID-19 epidemic. They are also an important element of Polish development assistance and a tool for fulfilling our international commitments.