Walesa asks EU to save historic shipyard

Walesa asks EU to save historic shipyard
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Former Polish President Lech Walesa appealed to senior European politicians Thursday to save the struggling Gdansk shipyard, the cradle of the pro-democracy Solidarity movement that he founded.
The Gdansk yard has been struggling for years with the threat of bankruptcy. The money-losing business has been kept alive with state subsidies, putting Poland at odds with the European Union.
"The Gdansk shipyard is the one where the transformation of Europe started," Walesa told a congress of the European People's Party — a grouping of center-right parties that is the biggest in the European Parliament.
"Please take a moment and think what can be done to prevent the destruction of this first monument of our victory in Europe and in the world," Walesa said, winning applause.
Poles have a strong emotional attachment to the Gdansk shipyard, a symbol of the demise of communism.
It was there that Walesa, then an electrician, led strikes in 1980 that led to the birth of Solidarity and the communist regime's eventual collapse in 1989. Walesa became Poland's first freely elected president in 1990.
EU rules prevent members of the 27-nation bloc, which Poland and several other formerly communist nations joined in 2004, from keeping inefficient companies alive artificially.
"I do not believe that Europe has no idea about how to achieve economic efficiency while preserving at the same time this first monument of globalization," Walesa said Thursday. That underlined the impact events in Gdansk had elsewhere in the communist world.
Two other Polish shipyards, in Gdynia and Szczecin, recently have been closed with the loss of thousands of jobs.
The EPP congress — held at the Palace of Culture and Science, a spired Soviet-style high-rise built when Josef Stalin was in power in Moscow — opened its campaign for June 7 European Parliament elections.
The meeting honored Poland for initiating democratic transformation in eastern Europe 20 years ago.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
I remember our 5th grade class watching the papers/news coverage on Walesa and his coworkers, in their fledgling Solidarity movement. They were one of the earliest signs that the communist system was starting to crumble and eastern Europe could be freed from Soviet domination.

While its sad that the business isn't viable, the Poles should still be able to maintain this as a historic site of some sort. Its cliche but if there is a will, there is a way even if it means it become more museum than business.
Maybe Harper should buy it - I am sure they could make IceBreakers cheaper than the Canadian shipyards

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