Twelve days since my last blog. Too much but I haven’t really got used to the practicalities of sharing some rapid reflections in the blog-format, only on Facebook, when the calendar is packed.
And it has been packed for sure. Why?
First of all because of last week’s visit to Sweden. I got the opportunity to participate when the Speaker of the Sejm, Ms Ewa Kopacz, made an official visit to see her colleague, Per Westerberg. And that visit coincided with the third Polish-Swedish Parliamentary Forum November 14th.
Excellent meetings in my opinion. Why? Because the discussions were very concrete and showed a genuine interest in interaction and cooperation. Like “we are struggling with demographical challenges – what have been the Swedish solutions”?. Or “we have heard about the new Polish programme on apartments for young people, how will it work?”. Or “how can we jointly take the Eastern Partnership, which was a joint Polish-Swedish initiative, forward towards the next summit in Vilnius in a year’s time”. And the list could be made even longer: EU budget, cohesion policy, climate change, fisheries, gender equality.
There was a lot of energy in the discussions and a lot of interest to continue the contacts, not least between MP:s dealing with similar issues. I will do what I can to facilitate the continued cooperation. First of all looking forward to invite the MP:s that participated as well as the MP:s having joined the newly established Polish-Swedish Parliamentarian Friendship Group in the Sejm to our Residence early next year.
I arrived to Stockholm from Gdańsk and another significant Polish-Swedish event – the “quadrilateral meeting” between the Polish and Swedish Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence – the first of its kind. But not the last, that was the clear message from the participants afterwards.
Luckily I also could use one day to catch up with contacts and Ministries in Stockholm. The geographical department in Ministry of Foreign Affairs with our extremely helpful colleagues, Jan Amberg and Isabella Törngren, are always highest on my list, but many others are there as well. I am very happy for the cooperation we have with the Polish Embassy in Stockholm and Ambassador Adam Hałaciński personally. We gain a lot from our relation for the obvious reason that we have very much in common, on both sides having a strong interest to promote Polish-Swedish cooperation, not least helping the right people on both sides to meet.
Still, work is not everything. My wife Karin and I were of course very happy to see our daughters again. A lot of catching up to do. And we also managed to squeeze in a cinema visit, the latest Bond-film (a film that I honestly enjoyed a lot…).
Back in Warsaw, I have had a lot to follow from a political point of view. The discussions about the EU budget culminating tomorrow and Friday in Brussels. The change of leadership in PSL and the resignation of Deputy Premier Waldemar Pawlak. And of course the news about the arrest of the person that had planned an attack at the Sejm, luckily stopped by the authorities.
I also got the opportunity to meet the publishers from Czarna Owca, Paweł Książkiewicz and Iwona Jędrzejewska, learning about the success of Swedish criminal novels on the Polish market but also much more: from Swedish child literature to books with a feminist profile.
A totally different task ended my day today, when I made an introduction to a Round Table Conference on gender equality, innovation and entreprenuership, preparing a possible Flagship Project around the Baltic Sea based on experiences from WINNET and its efforts to create resource centres for female entrepreneurs. I am very happy that our Embassy can host these kind of meetings between Swedish and Polish partners – so well in line with our priorities. The growth agenda needs much more of this kind of input for sure.