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.