Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Jerzy Pomianowski inaugurated the European Endowment for Democracy
The event organized by the Polish Fund of International Solidarity was held in the office of the Warsaw Stefan Batory Foundation. The list of the guests included representatives of NGOs from different countries.
According to a charter97.org correspondent, Jerzy Pomianowski, who became the executive director of the European Fund for Democracy, and Krzysztof Stanowski, the President of the Fund of International Solidarity, told about the new fund established in Poland.
First of all, Pomianowski emphasized that, together with a range of the EU countries and Switzerland, the European Commission has launched the new foundation for democracy in the EU’s neighbor-countries after the violent suppression of the mass rallies of December 19, 2010 held in Belarus to protest against the fake results of the presidential elections, and after the Arab spring. The initiative came from Poland’s Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski in January 2011.
”I’d like to thank everyone who has come here today. We have met many times on this road, in different configurations, and stumbled against different hinders. I have often experienced positive effects. I’d like to thank all states who have supported the European Fund for Democracy. There have been a lot of problems, objections, various severe comments. German political funds were most difficult partners to convince.
On 9 January I was elected to be the executive director of the Fund, but I am also the Deputy Foreign Minister. Today I’m talking directly to you without any middlemen; there are no governmental partners here. The specific nature of the Fund in its multiple aspects will reveal itself when we start discussing the details of the mechanism that we’ve created: the merger of fire and water, opposite forms of governing, functioning and even financing.
The political philosophy here can be summed up in one sentence: “You cannot export democracy”. No protest, no action from outside has ever changed the situation in any country suffering from the lack of democracy. Democracy and democratization can be achieved only with an internal impulse of the people who want changes in their country. Only then the help of a partner from outside will matter. Nobody should ever be isolated, we are always ready to give a helping hand,” the executive director of the European Fund for Democracy said.
Funding of non-registered organizations will become the Fund’s priority.
“They have no chance to get registered. In Egypt, organizations can get registered, but it is a long process that doesn’t always end well. And in Belarus, numerous organizations that have no chance to get registered don’t want to function as organizations with foreign registration. We will use Poland’s experience, we will learn from the mistakes of other organizations, we will choose most successful organizations,” Pomianowski said.
The European Fund for Democracy will give assistance to journalists, bloggers, non-registered NGOs and political movements, including those in exile. The Fund’s orientation is towards democratic movements in Belarus, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Moldova, Syria, Ukraine and Palestine.
”As for Belarus, this country is a definite priority of our Fund. The Fund will get positive charges from Belarus both via me and via Poland,” the executive director of the European Fund for Democracy pointed out.