Interview with Grzegorz Karpiński Chairman of the Polish-English Parliamentary Group
Grzegorz Karpiński is the Chairman of the Polish-British Parliamentary Group of the Sejm and Senat, similar to the House o Lords and House of Commons in the UK. As an eminent politician and speaker, Grzegorz Karpiński spoke with authority about challenges and opportunities facing the two countries, during the historic seminar held at the House of Commons. In an exclusive interview with Joanna Gulbinska he talks about his interest in politics and the challenges ahead.
What sparked your interest in politics?
GK: My interest on politics is due to a general interest in public affairs. I was keen on politics since I was a teenager and politics activity was a result of it. The most important event for me was the 1989 spring elections in Poland when I was 13 and I could see the historical ending of the Soviet Empire and beginning of polish transformations.
How long have you been a member of the Sejm?
GK: I have been a member of Polish Sejm since 2007. Now it’s my first term of the office.What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Sejm?GK: The most enjoyable was improving Polish law, which confused me when I worked as a lawyer, before I was a member of the Sejm. I think that clear and understandable law is the most important challenge and once we are successful, it can result in economic development and improve citizens’ confidence in the country.
As Chairman of the Polish-British Parliamentary Group of the Sejm and Senat what do you recognise as the top challenges?
GK: The top challenges for our group is to concentrate on cooperation with Polish organizations in the Great Britain, promotion of the country in Poland, exchange of experience on parliamentary work with British MPs, and work with the Foreign Office.
Can you give some practical examples of how the Polish-British Group of the Sejm and Senat has made a difference to people’s lives?
GK: The most important event organised with the Polish British Parliamentary Group was the debate between Polish organisations working in the UK and Polish government. As a result of this cooperation, we have prepared special programmes for Poles coming back from abroad. The meeting was a great opportunity to exchange expectations towards each other and it worked as a platform for the Polish Sejm.
How would you summarise the historic discussion at the House of Commons?
GK: The historic discussion at the House of Commons was a great chance to talk about the challenges we face nowadays. I hope that conclusions will be quite useful for further reference. And we will have following opportunities to meet again in the near future and enhance Polish British relations. I believe that together we can strengthen inter-parliamentary relations between Poland and the UK to achieve goals that are mutually important.
During the debate in the House of Commons, you spoke about the need of intensifying the promotion of relations between the two countries. Why is it so crucial?
GK: Nowadays information is the most important asset in the economy. Exchanging information about tax law, workers, and investment opportunities is vital for strengthening economic relations. Thanks to planning and information strategy we can improve economical cooperation between Poland and the Great Britain.
Could you tell me about the EU investment in the Eastern part of Poland and opportunities it will bring?
GK: Developing the eastern part of Poland is one of the main targets where EU structural funds will be invested. The Operating Development Programme plays a significant role in the regeneration of this region. It is the main tool which will help reach cohesion within the whole country, as a result of joining the EU structures. Accordingly, this programme of investment, which by the way begins in the near future, will focus on developing metropolitan functions in eastern cities i.e. access to Internet, improving communications, etc.
Thank you for your time.