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EU Hails Poland's Solidarity as Catalyst for Europe

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has hailed Poland's Solidarity movement as an inspiration for democratic movements in Europe and around the world.

Speaking at Wednesday's ceremonies in Gdansk, Mr. Barroso said the roots of freedom inspired by Solidarity penetrated the system of communist oppression and eventually brought it crashing down.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili hailed the peaceful Polish movement as the best thing that happened in the 20th century.

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel said solidarity does not only mean freedom, but also responsibility. He urged world support for pro-democracy activists in Belarus, Cuba, Burma and North Korea.

In Saint Peter's Square, Pope Benedict praised Solidarity as a spirit that transformed Europe. Speaking in Polish to thousands of faithful, he marked Solidarity's 25th anniversary with a special prayer for those who work for social justice and worker's rights.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.