Wałęsa: We need a new way of thinking

In front of 700 vis­i­tors, who came to the Toscana Con­gress Cen­ter in Gmunden, the Nobel Peace Prize Lau­re­ate and for­mer Pol­ish Pres­i­dent Lech Wałęsa called for a new foun­da­tion of val­ues for a unit­ed Europe.

„In the past Europe had stood on a chris­t­ian foun­da­tion, then the big ide­olo­gies unit­ed many coun­tries, but now we have lost our com­mon ground. If the Euro­pean Union shall con­tin­ue to exist, we will need ten com­mand­ments for Europe. Com­mon val­ues that can be shared by all Euro­peans — regard­less of their reli­gion or polit­i­cal ide­olo­gies”, said Wałęsa at the SURPRISE FACTORS PLENARY which took place in the con­text of the 6th SURPRISE FACTORS SYMPOSIUM from ACADEMIA SUPERIOR on the top­ic „Where does free­dom start and end?”.

Con­cern­ing the cur­rent refugee and sol­i­dar­i­ty cri­sis in Europe, the leg­endary Pol­ish free­dom fight­er said, that it did­n’t come by sur­prise, but Europe was not pre­pared and did let itself be sur­prised by this sit­u­a­tion. „We need a new way of think­ing, to be no longer sur­prised by such sud­den devel­op­ments and to be able to solve these chal­lenges in a bet­ter way. New times call for a depar­ture from pre­vi­ous pat­terns of thought that haved worked for decades, but now are obso­lete”, Wałęsa said.

At the same time, he warned against exces­sive pes­simism in the face of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion: „When I began my fight for a free Poland, no one gave me a chance. But we have suc­ceed­ed. Now again, many say: this cri­sis will destroy Europe. They will also be wrong”, stressed the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.


Lech Wałęsa was invit­ed to Gmunden to speak at the 6th SURPRISE FACTORS SYMPOSIUM. Experts from dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sions dis­cussed the top­ic of „free­dom” from many per­spec­tives. This year’s experts were: the Dan­ish politi­cian Uffe Elbæk, the Russ­ian cos­mopoli­tan Anna Kamen­skaya, the Aus­tri­an addic­tion researcher Gabriele Fis­ch­er and the ger­man writer and author Wolf Won­dratschek. As spe­cial guest the Aus­tri­an-Israeli jour­nal­ist and writer Ari Rath took part in the discussions.