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Wałęsa ‘was paid to address’ Libertas event

Last update - Thursday, May 7, 2009, 00:39 By Viktor Posudnevsky

Polish democratic icon Lech Wałęsa was paid to take part in the convention of Libertas political party last week, according to reports in the Polish press.

Wałęsa, former President of Poland and Solidarity hero, made global headlines last weekend when he came out to support Libertas, a pan-European political party set up by Irish businessman Declan Ganley.
Addressing a Libertas convention in Rome, Italy on 1 May, WaÅ‚Ä™sa said: “Declan Ganley and Libertas have the potential to change Europe for the better.
“This European project has all the ingredients to become a historic force for good in the world, and grow into so much more than it is today, but for that to happen, we need to heed the Libertas message and put the people back at the heart of the project.”
Libertas, which started as a movement against the Lisbon Treaty, is contesting the European elections this June and is planning to field candidates in most of the EU’s 27 member states. Its campaign includes a call for increased accountability and transparency in the EU’s institutions.
However, the Polish press has sparked controversy by revealing that Wałęsa was paid to appear at the Rome event. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has admitted he received a fee for his speech, but he did not specify how much that fee was.
“I haven’t done that for free,” WaÅ‚Ä™sa is quoted as saying in an interview with Poland’s TVN24 channel. He further explained his salary in Poland amounted to €800 per month, which was “not enough”.
“I have to somehow support my family and live duly,” WaÅ‚Ä™sa added. Libertas has issued no comment as of press time.
Lech Wałęsa was a simple electrician at a shipyard in Gdansk when he joined an illegal trade union in 1970, which cost him his job and ultimately a lengthy prison term.
He went on to become the chairman of the country’s first non-communist trade union Solidarity, which managed to successfully oppose the communist government.
In 1990 Wałęsa was elected President of Poland. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983.

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