U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney praised Poland for embracing free market principles after years under communist rule, calling it a nation "with an extraordinary future."
In a speech delivered Tuesday in Warsaw at the Polish Institute of International Affairs, Romney celebrated the historical bond between the United States and Poland, saying they belong to "the great fellowship of democracies" along with Britain and Israel, the other nations on Romney's recent foreign policy tour. He thanked Poland for its role in helping the U.S. achieve independence from Britain, and said it stands as an "example of freedom" in helping to end Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.
Romney said the U.S. and Poland speak the same language of "freedom and justice" that upholds "the right of every person to live in peace," linking Pope John Paul's call for resistance against Poland's communist rulers in the 1970s to the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1950s and the current Arab Spring movement in North Africa and the Middle East.
Romney said Poland has enjoyed economic growth over the last two decades by rejecting "the false promise of a government dominated economy" and embracing "a culture of entrepreneurship." "Perhaps, because here in Poland, centralized control is no distant memory," said the former businessman. "You brought a special determination to securing a free and prosperous economy." He said the struggling economies across Europe and around the world should "look to Poland" as an example.
The presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee said a Polish politician shared with him "an economic truth that has been lost in much of the world ...you do not borrow what you can not pay back." The comment was an apparent reference to criticism by Romney's fellow Republicans of U.S. President Barack Obama's handling of the large U.S. government deficit.