European Solidarity Centre
The ceremony of signing the erection act for the construction of the European Solidarity Centre was held at the Memorial to Killed Shipyard Workers in Gdansk on Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the August '80 Agreements. Present at the ceremony were Lech Walesa, President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Marek Belka, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Solidarity leader Janusz Siadek and Gdansk top authorities, as well as foreign delegations participating in the Solidarity anniversary celebrations. The Centre, to be created at the site of Gdansk Shipyard will monitor human rights observance in the world and disseminate the ideas of democratic freedom and independence. The BHP hall in which the historic Agreements were signed in 1980, Shipyard's Gate II, Solidarity Square and the Memorial to the Killed Shipyard Workers as well as Promenade of Freedom along the sea will constitute integral parts of the Centre.The European Solidarity Centre should be the place of gratitude, rich in experience and bringing solutions for the future, Walesa told the freedom fighters present at the gathering. Barroso thanked Solidarity "for everything it has done." "Here in Gdansk I'm telling the United Europe to follow in the footsteps of Solidarity," Barroso said. As a lifelong trade unionist I'm proud that Solidarity showed the power of trade unionism as a peaceful path to democracy and justice, British deputy PM John Prescott said at the signing of an erection act ceremony. The courage of the men and women of Solidarity, who put forth demands for simple, but how meaningful changes, aroused our admiration then and makes us proud to be able to honour them today, Prescott said in his address. Polish PM Marek Belka recalled August 1980 as "the nation's great collective success". In the hot days of August 1980 Polish shipyarders fought for freedom without wreaking destruction or riots. It was they, headed by Lech Walesa, who first cracked open and then flung wide the door to democracy, Belka said.