New Year’s Address of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda

Dear Compatriots, Ladies and Gentlemen!

The year just ending was a year of change in Polish politics. After eight years, our country’s parliamentary majority has changed, the prime minister has changed, the government has changed.

But the most important task facing those in power has not changed. It is the need to take care of the security of our Homeland. For the safety of Polish women and men. This was the case in 2023 and it will be exactly the same in the year 2024, which is just beginning!

The serious external threats to our homeland have not gone anywhere. There is still a full–scale war going on beyond our eastern border. That is why we must constantly strengthen and modernise the Polish army. Strengthen alliances. There can be no turning back from this policy. Poland’s security has no price! And for me it is and will be the most important Polish matter! As the Commander–in–Chief of the Armed Forces, I am always ready to co–operate with the government on issues concerning the strengthening of our security.

Dear Sirs,

Dear Countrymen!

We are dealing with a new situation in Polish politics. The president and the government are from different political camps. This is normal in a democracy. But in a democracy, you have to respect the Constitution, the rule of law and good political manners.

Unfortunately, in recent days, the government coalition, in an attempt to take over the public media, has broken these rules. For the first time in free Poland after 1989, there was an attempt to take over the public media by force, the television signal of some channels was switched off and news programmes stopped broadcasting. Finally, Polish Television, Polish Radio and the Polish Press Agency were put into liquidation.

I would like to make this clear: those in power can reform the public media, but this must be done in accordance with the law. I have always been and am always open to such a discussion regarding legal changes. However, there will never be any consent on my part to violate the Constitution. And this is, unfortunately, the situation we are currently facing.  

Further announcements that important decisions will be made by means of parliamentary resolutions are also cause for serious concern. Resolutions of the Sejm do not have the legal force to form the basis for action by state bodies with consequences for citizens. Such actions also blatantly contradict the Constitution. If we condone such practices today, any new parliamentary majority will be able to act in this way in the future.

As President of the Republic, I will strongly and in accordance with my constitutional powers oppose such actions. I therefore call on the government coalition to start respecting the principles of a democratic state under the rule of law and to respect citizens regardless of their political views. This should be your political New Year’s resolution!

It needs to be made clear: legal chaos and internal conflict in Poland leads to a weakening of our state and, consequently, to a weakening of our security. We have already faced such a situation. I remember it very well, as I was minister in the Chancellery of President Lech Kaczyński when Donald Tusk was previously head of government.

I have learnt from that situation. I am ready to cooperate on the most important matters for Poland, but I am also prepared for the situation that the government will not want such cooperation!

Dear Compatriots, Ladies and Gentlemen!

The year 2024, which is just beginning, is also a time of important anniversaries: the 25th anniversary of Poland’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance and the 20th anniversary of Poland’s entry into the European Union. Poland’s presence in NATO, as well as in the EU, are the foundations of our security. I have said this many times. This is the Polish raison d’état!

But our presence in the Union and in NATO requires the constant pursuit of Polish interests. The occasion for this will be the July summit of the Alliance in Washington, as well as the election of new European Union authorities. It will also be a year of preparation for our Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2025. During the presidency, we can push even harder for our priorities: for greater US engagement in Europe, for enlargement of the Union to the east and south, and for strengthening energy security.

Dear Compatriots, Ladies and Gentlemen!

In spite of the great emotions, we have in Polish politics, the many unrests in the world and the great drama of the war that is taking place beyond our eastern border, may this be a good year for Poland, for Polish affairs and for Polish families. May it be a good year for you in your personal and professional lives.

I wish you health, happiness, love and peace.

Happy New Year!