Jaroslaw Walesa - running for MEP

04-06-2004

A former football star, a motor racing champion, an opera singer, an ex-cosmonaut, the son of a communist era leader and the son of an anti-communist hero are among leading Polish contenders in elections to the European Parliament. 28 year-old Jaroslaw Walesa, the son of former Polish president and Solidarity legend Lech Walesa now working in his father's office in Gdansk, is one of some 1,900 candidates running for Poland's 54 seats in the European Parliament. For Lech Walesa, Poland's membership in the European Union was the fulfillment of his lifelong dream. But what does EU membership mean to his son Jaroslaw?

"Well, actually it means a similar thing obviously. But as a young person it was more of a formality for me. I was already living in the European Union, as it is right now. It was just a formality for myself, but obviously I consider it as a great step for a greater unification of the whole human kind."

Why have you decided to run for the European Parliament?

"Well, actually it was a process. It was something I was getting into, so this frame of mind I was getting into for a long time now. And it was just a process of realizing that people of my generation in Poland need some sort of guidance in certain ways because they feel lost, they feel hopeless. And they feel many times that nothing they can do can change anything. So, in my person I would like to show them that they can achieve everything they want as long as they are ambitious and they stay true to themselves. So that is the main reason why I wanted to join this race because I wanted to show my peers that it's possible."

Could you tell us a little bit about your professional background and experiences gathered so far?

"I finished college in Massachusetts with a degree in political science, after which I worked for a couple of different institutions, one of which was the Hudson Institute located in Indianapolis, Indiana in the U.S. And over there it's a think-tank. So I had an opportunity to work with many interesting people. I met many interesting college and university professors. And working with them I came to the conclusion that the dialogue would be the best way to solve a lot of our problems. So, basically that's about it. I'm still working on my professorial resume."

Do you think your name is likely to help you in the elections?

"It's a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because I'll get the media interested in my person. And if my name was different, then what it is now, then we would probably not have this conversation right now. So, in this regards it's a blessing. But obviously I had to carry burdens that came with this name and the burdens of my father and burdens of my whole family. So as long as I keep in perspective I believe that it will be beneficial to me."

04-06-2004