I WANT A STRONG AND FREE POLAND
JAROSŁAW GRABOWSKI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF 'NIEDZIELA' AND KATARZYNA WOYNAROWSKA
Father Matthew Morawiecki talks about family, faith and strategic matters for Poland.
FR. JAROSŁAW GRABOWSKI: - Prime Minister, does being a believer make it easier or more difficult for you to become a politician?
MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI: - It certainly adds strength. Especially now, when we are in the course of the election campaign, and everyday life means little sleep, endless phone calls, hundreds of emails and a dozen or so meetings a day. I am convinced that Christianity entails a resource of universal values on which it is possible to build a real community. There is a place for everyone, including people who are not in line with the teaching of the Catholic Church. That is why even when politics seems inevitably barbarized, I do not lose hope. Of course, I'm not saying that thanks to this all of us will suddenly start agreeing. We in Poland have forgotten too easily in recent years that on the basis of common values we can differ beautifully.
KATARZYNA WOYNAROWSKA: - What shaped you as a man, what events, people, situation ... To what extent did your childhood and youth spent in People's Poland, your opposition activity decide on the choice of life path? After all, not all of the children of the oppositionists went on to politics.
- It was very important to me that Poland was not free. I understood it, or maybe I felt it more as a child and later as a teenage boy. Poles are not free - it was something terrible, something that remained in me for a long time. I asked myself why we should live enslaved. At some point, this feeling changed into a resolution: I want to do something in my life that will serve Polish freedom. I also had my father's example. His involvement in the fight against the communist system meant that the house in which I grew up was certainly not ordinary. But our dreams - about happiness, love, our own corner - were very ordinary. All this directed my steps to business and the university, and a few years ago - to politics. Today it seems so simple, but then, when I was a dozen or so years old, I did not think that I would live in a free country so quickly.
FR. J. G .: - Prime Minister you are in Jasna Góra, in front of the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa. What feelings do you have when thinking about the profanation of this holy image?
- For sure, like so many Poles, I feel sadness and pain in such situations. Also because this image was once a symbol of the unity of Poles. A symbol of joint resistance, joint struggle for values close to us. This is the identity binder of many generations of Poles. I would like the Jasna Góra Image to become such a sign of social agreement again. Respect for beliefs and beliefs of fellow citizens is an important element of democratic culture.
K. W .: - What three things do you consider today to be the most important, strategic for the security and prosperity of Poland?
- Poland is on the threshold of the third decade of the 21st century. We have the first serious opportunity in history to really catch up with the West and join the group of the most developed countries in the world. This is a great economic task. Respond to these great challenges arising from the industrial revolution, new technologies, and an extremely fast-changing world. Enter the global economic game and win there. We must get prepared for new times, new technologies, new social relations connected with it, new approach to goods and work. The second challenge is not to lose our heritage, which decides that we are Poles - our tradition, culture and faith. Our attachment to Christian principles, our great heritage of solidarity through the big and small "s". The third challenge is to provide Poland with security and external conditions that are subsoil for social, economic and cultural development. This is not just military security, but also energy security, cyber security ... I think that these are key challenges for Poland in the coming decades.
FR. J. G .: - And when it comes to energy security. Coal or renewable energy sources?
- We are not going to give up coal energy production in the coming years. This is our basic raw material, which ensures energy security and many jobs, and Polish power industry is based on it. At the same time, we also want to invest more and more in green, renewable energy. It is an increasingly cheaper source of energy production, although still unstable. In short - coal is jobs, it is stable energy, but at the same time in our energy sector there should be more and more space for renewable energy sources, because it is modern technologies and a clean environment. I call this path the path of just transformation. Ahead of us there is a process in which - along with environmental protection - we need to take into account energy and economic security of the state, as well as people and the characteristics of the labor market. Therefore, the energy transformation must be fair, it must take into account the well-being of employees.
- During the election campaign a lot is said about the successes of the current government, which project do you value the most?
- The biggest success is that we have restored healthy relationships in public life. Today, the state is for citizens, not the other way around. This change is particularly evident in pro-family policy, in the support of seniors, in activities conducted for the disabled. We woke up the night watchman who was sleeping when the VAT Mafia was robbing Poles. The budget no longer resembled a colander with billions escaping. This allowed for financing ambitious programs such as: Family 500+, Good Start or the thirteenth retirement.
- What hasn't been achieved?
- Although there has been a significant improvement in many areas, we have record low unemployment and a good pace of GDP growth - we still have a long way to catch up with highly developed Western countries. A report was published during the Economic Forum in Krynica, whose authors write that we need 14 years to do so. We still have work to do in the area of healthcare and housing. These are the priorities for the next term, if only Poles renew our democratic mandate to govern.
- The prime minister's office requires steel nerves. What has been the most difficult moment for you in this term?
- Holding the office of prime minister is not an easy task at all, and there are many difficult moments in my work. However, the most intense and the most demanding time was the very beginning. When I took my first steps as the prime minister, I had to manage the last mandatory matters in two departments I managed - the Ministry of Development and the Ministry of Finance. A fierce international discussion on the amendment of the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance began very soon, it was necessary to defend Poland against unjust accusations on the international stage. Fortunately, everything ended well, we issued together with the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu a joint statement, which is very important, and I think that we will often come back to it, defending historical truth. It was not an easy period, but after a while I think it was very necessary. Such a leap into the deep water that toughened me.
K. W .: - Can you imagine performing such a responsible function without the support of your family and loved ones?
- Of course not. Let's start with the fact that I wouldn't be here at all if it wasn't for the people who surround me, especially my wife, children, family, friends, but also close collaborators. Thomas Merton wrote such a book - "Nobody is a lonely island." Man is never completely independent, because he always owes his life, successes and achievements to others.
- Overworking people say that you cannot combine intensive professional work with the role of e.g. father and husband. Do you manage to do it? Could you give us some advice ...
- I am lucky that my family fully understands the requirements and personal limitations of my work, and really my service. That this is a unique period and you have to devote 120% to this work. I always try have time to talk to my wife and children, both young and old, whenever possible. As for the advice, I also learned in my life not to instruct my parents or married couples. Every situation, every family has its own internal rules. Instead of careless advice, we prefer - as we prefer Law and Justice - to give Polish families concrete support.
- Does one of the busiest people in Poland have time for passions, hobbies, favorite books, music, movies?
- I find peace and rest at home, with my family. Sometimes - far too rarely - I will reach for a book. It has always relaxed me. But today, usually before I read the page to the end, the phone already reminds me that it's time to go back to work. I have a pile of unread books at home that is constantly growing.
FR. J. G .: - If you were not a historian, financier or politician, what would you like to do in your life?
- In the past I had makings of an athlete. I did quite well at the ping pong table and also on the football field. I still love sport to this day. I think it is needed especially in the youth - it teaches discipline and cooperation. Now, unfortunately, I have almost no time for sport. I also studied at a music school, although I certainly don't have any special skills in this field - the world of music has probably lost nothing and maybe even gained. I worked in business, but I know that I couldn't go back to it now. I think I'm lucky to do what I have always cared about. Politics is hard work, often ungrateful, but it is work for Poland, for the future.
- Who would you follow into a fire? This is a question about authorities in political and private life.
- I have many people who inspire me. For sure Stefan Grot-Rowecki is such a person. But it is also important for me to follow the case. Such a thing from my early youth, in my home, was free, strong, great Poland - the biggest matter of recent centuries. At that time, back in the days of "Fighting Solidarity", I became strongly convinced that the foundation of public activity was an ethical foundation. I found such a message in the teaching of Pope John Paul II, and it probably shaped all my peers. When Karol Wojtyła took the hold of the papal throne, I was 10 years old. His pontificate accompanied my growing up. That is why I feel a member of the generation of Poles who owe much to the Polish Pope intellectually and spiritually.
- At some point you abandoned the promising financial career as a politician. It was worth it?
- Certainly I was strongly shaped by the experience of youth. I felt that something had to be done for Poles - for Polish independence. I saw it being trampled on. I saw people imprisoned who wanted to fight for it. It is obvious that in free Poland, in calmer times, this duty means something different. But the direction has not changed. For many years after 1989 I became convinced that many things still needed to be fixed. That in our free Poland everything was not as it should be, that there is still a lot to be done in the economy and for society. The thought that I had to get involved in the life of the community came back to me more and more often. Everyone has a debt to Poland, to history, and everyone should pay it back as they can. When I made this decision, I quickly made sure it was the right choice.