It is my great honor and pleasure to address this New Year’s greetings to you. Poland has established official diplomatic ties with Korea 27 years ago and the bilateral relations have been flourishing ever since. The economic cooperation between Poland and Korea is a pivotal part of the relationship between our countries. Poland has become a major actor within the European Union with the largest economy in Central Europe, and, for Poland, Korea is the second most important economic partner in Asia. We especially appreciate Korean investments that significantly contribute to Polish economy with transfers of advanced technology and by creating new job opportunities.
In this regard, our diplomatic mission in Korea will continue its efforts to attract more diverse Korean investments to Poland. Last year, we organized a Seminar: “Poland as a Pan-European Transportation Hub”, which created a unique opportunity for communication, experience exchange, and networking possibilities for Korean business people and policy makers as well as their Polish counterparts. This year we will focus on promoting particular regions in Poland to showcase their exclusive advantages to potential Korean investors. This will include Ł?d?, city in the center of Poland that is pursuing organization of the so called small Expo in 2022.
From the political perspective, we will be continuing our work in accordance with the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Strategic Partnership between Poland and Korea for the years 2014-2016. The document was signed in December 2014 to establish a formal framework for cooperation, following the Declaration of Strategic Partnership between Republic of Poland and Republic of Korea adopted in 2013. There already are a couple of ministerial level meetings scheduled for the first half of this year. In 2016 we will also start working on the new Action Plan for years to come.
Year 2016 is of a great importance for Poles, not only domestically, but also from the global perspective. In July Warsaw will literally become the capital of the world as the NATO Summit will welcome the heads of state from about 65 countries, leaders of the most crucial partner organizations of the Alliance such as the UN and the EU, ?as well as 2500 delegates and 1500 journalists. They will attend the summit to prove that the transatlantic community, the alliance and its partners together can more effectively fight against threats from different parts of the world.
Also in July Polish southern city Krak?w will host 31st World Youth Day - an international meeting of catholic youth from all over the world, who will gather together to pray and meet the Pope Francis. It is expected that up to 3 million people will come to Poland to take part in this religious event aiming at strengthening young people's faith.
From the regional perspective, at the second half of this year Poland will take over the presidency of the Visegrad Group, therefore we plan to significantly increase our activities in this regard.
From the bilateral point of view, this year Poland, as well as Korea, will celebrate 20th anniversary of accession to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Both countries have substantially benefited from their membership and cooperation, so we think it is a good reason to reflect on those past 20 years.
Domestically, we shall celebrate the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, the event which has largely contributed to the formation of our Nation. This year was also announced a “Henryk Sienkiewicz Year” as it marks 100th anniversary of death of this renown Polish novelist and Nobel Prize holder. On this occasion, we will commemorate Henryk Sienkiewicz, a writer who significantly contributed to shape our national identity by writing historical novels in difficult times, when Poland was divided and did not exist on the map of the world. Also this year, Polish city Wrocław is the World Book Capital, the title that has been bestowed by UNESCO following the South Korean city Incheon. The Embassy is engaged in this initiative by facilitating unprecedented channel of communication between the students of both cities.
Lastly, I would like to use this opportunity and stress that Poland has been present on the Korean Peninsula for more than 60 years by participating in the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission and we stand ready to support efforts for reconciliation of the Korean people and for building lasting security and stability in the region.
Finally, let me convey the New Year's message from the Polish President, H.E. Andrzej Duda, who wished everyone, a peaceful, happy, fruitful and prosperous New Year. From myself I would like to express my greatest hope that we will be able to welcome President Park Geun-hye in Poland by the end of this year.