Teresa Potocka: Working together with the Polish
The Conservative Friends of Poland group was founded recently by Daniel Kawczynski MP to establish an intra-cultural dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding between the Conservative Party, the Polish community in UK and Polish figureheads. It is supported by a Committee which currently consists of a number of professionals, a doctor with interests in promoting education, and two London Borough Councillors all of Polish background. The group is to act in an advisory fashion to establish links and forge partnerships from a political, cultural and social perspective to promote Conservative values within the Polish community in the UK.
Poland has made dramatic progress since the collapse of communism in moving from a centrally planned to a market oriented economy. Economic structures have improved significantly and the Polish economy continues to grow. Poland's accession to the European Union on 1st May 2004 has created opportunities that guarantee stability and dynamic development. Poland and the UK have historically been allies during war and in peace time. Due to the closeness between the two nations, and our cooperation on important issues, it is fitting to address the needs and perceptions of the Polish community at this time.
We share many views and attitudes on a variety of important issues. Poland has maintained close relations with UK, both on defence matters and within the EU; Britain opened its borders and allowed equal rights to Polish workers when Poland acceded to the EU. Additionally Poland and Britain have worked closely together on many political issues offering an alternative to the ‘ever closer union’ concept that has shaped the EU for so many years. With such a long-existing friendship, it is important to strengthen relations between the two countries by engaging with the Polish community within the UK.
To build on this, it is important to encourage an open dialogue and to provide support for mutual cultural education enabling British nationals to get involved in what Poles and Poland has to offer. At the same time this would strengthen the UK's image and reputation in Poland. It is the development of new forms of activity aimed at broadening access to both cultures that will promote closer interaction.
An open exchange of views should be encouraged through cooperation, the creation of a strong network and support from patrons and members. Seminars, fringe meetings and country visits will be arranged to foster closer political and cultural understanding between UK and Poland. The input will be invaluable in helping people recognise the needs of a growing community. In turn this will allow full integration of Polish nationals into British society, welcoming them to take part in community activity and to promote family values across the cultural border.
We are always keen to hear new ideas and views and would like to offer support. Join us if you are Polish, of a Polish background or have a passion for everything Polish. For any membership or general inquiries contact us via this email address.