A special press briefing with the participation of Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State of the United States, Lech Wałęsa, former President of the Republic of Poland, and Leszek Balcerowicz, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Board Chairman at the Civil Development Forum, was held on March 8, 2019, in Warsaw.
The event was organized by the Civil Development Forum in cooperation with the Lech Wałęsa Institute during Madeleine Albright’s visit to Poland to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the entry to NATO by Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
President Lech Wałęsa greeted Secretary Madeleine Albright and thanked her for her help in building a new world. “Together we closed the division of country blocs in the world. We have opened the age of intellect, information, and globalization”, said Wałęsa.
Leszek Balcerowicz joined in the thanks and noted that “Everyone loves the word democracy, even dictators”. However, he added, “We are referring to a liberal democracy, which consists of three elements: the rule of law (including an independent judiciary), civic rights, and economic freedom”. He also emphasized, “There is no democracy with an economy that is dominated by the state”.
Madam Secretary was delighted to have been able to be a part of a discussion with individuals who have significantly contributed to the Polish reforms. She recalled her visit to Poland in November 1981, when she met with Lech Wałęsa: “I believe that you are the best speaker in history, talking to the workers. It was a great pleasure to listen to you. I am a supporter of Solidarity. I am always happy to return here”.