Yesterday (9 September 2020), NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană marked 40 years since the start of Solidarność in Poland by unveiling a copy of its famous emblem at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. He was joined by the Permanent Representative of Poland to NATO, Ambassador Tomasz Szatkowski, and other members of the North Atlantic Council.

The Deputy Secretary General said that the independent trade union and movement, which began in the shipyards of Gdansk in 1980, had served as an inspiration for Poland and the rest of the world. It united the Polish people against the Communist regime and would eventually help usher its downfall.

Geoană noted that the idea of solidarity is also at the core of NATO: “Allied solidarity is the foundation of Article 5. It embodies the spirit of consultation, cooperation and burden sharing that connects all members of the NATO alliance, our alliance, in words but also in deeds”. He added that NATO also supported the Solidarity movement through its commitment to prevent a Soviet intervention in Poland.

The Deputy Secretary General noted that the basic right to freedom and solidarity applies to all nations, and expressed concern for the violence used today against peaceful protestors in Belarus. He stressed that the people of Belarus have the right to free speech and the right to decide their own future, without interference from abroad.