"The enemies of freedom could not stand the Constitution of May 3. Our ancestors wanted to consolidate freedom and defend the threatened independence, therefore they decided to implement a great political reform," Polish President Andrzej Duda said on the 230th anniversary of the May 3 Constitution. He delivered his speech in the Sejm during the ceremonial assembly of the Polish and Lithuanian parliaments.
"On the day when the historical past meets the present so tangibly, we listen to the message of our ancestors, because it is a testimony of their wisdom, responsibility and patriotism," the President said, adding that the Constitution of May 3 is a Polish-Lithuanian heritage, significant for development European and world civilisation."
Andrzej Duda emphasised that "our ancestors wanted to consolidate freedom and defend the threatened independence, therefore they decided to implement a great systemic reform."
He added that the first partition of the Republic of Poland was a terrible shock, but it also caused a "great patriotic awakening," as a result of which the Constitution of May 3 was created.
"The adoption of the first constitution in Europe and the second worldwide was proof that the Republic of Poland was at full strength, ready to live and develop in accordance with the rhythm of modernity," Andrzej Duda stressed, adding that the Republic of Poland, which was then perceived by some as "a peripheral country”, became a precursor of changes by introducing a new political and social order.
During the ceremonial assembly of Polish and Lithuanian deputies and senators, the President said that "one of the great European thinkers of the eighteenth century, the founder of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke, called the Constitution of May 3 the purest public good that has ever been given to humanity."
"We are entitled to immense pride and satisfaction in being the depositories of this great great good. It is pride and honor, but also a great commitment," he pointed out.
"On behalf of the Poles, I would like to thank the Lithuanian brothers for the historic path we have traveled hand in hand, for alliances in defense of our and your independence, for mutual support," the President concluded.
"The Constitution of May 3 belongs equally to Lithuanians, Poles and other nations of the region as long as they are ready to take responsibility for the future of this tradition," Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said during his speech in the Polish parliament.
"I look at the common Polish-Lithuanian past and see an inexhaustible source from which we can reach for inspiration at any time," he stressed.
"May our homelands always be an example for other nations," President Nauseda concluded.