We are bidding adieu to the old year. But today's New Year's Eve is different from the previous ones. We are spending our time at home, in our family circle. But then, the outgoing year was all along different from previous years. It proved to be extremely difficult for us all.
It was a year full of sacrifice, tragedies, and suffering. My heart goes out to the bereaved families overcome with pain after the loss of those dear to them. May the New Year bring to you comfort and consolation.
As we were joyfully celebrating the advent of the New Year 2020, nobody would have thought to what extent it was going to change our life. The Coronavirus pandemic swept across the whole world and in recent months, it has also hit our country, Poland, with might and main. We are confronted with the challenges of an unprecedented scale.
We were doing our utmost to rise to the challenge, never before known to us. We, the Poles, have demonstrated incredible determination and sacrifice. We have shown our best traits: solidarity, kindness, readiness to cooperate, understanding. Today I wish to cordially thank all of you, Dear Fellow Countrymen, for that.
My special thanks go out to those at the forefront of the battle with the pandemic: to doctors, nurses, paramedics, diagnosticians, and all medical services. I wish to thank servicemen and women of the Polish Army and other uniform services and volunteers who support medical interventions and care services.
My thanks are also due to the teachers, who for many months have been performing their extremely important mission in a completely new environment. I wish to thank the entrepreneurs who, despite the epidemic, testify to their competence and skills, making sure that jobs are preserved, as well as caring for their co-workers and their families.
Preserving millions of jobs for Polish women and men is one of the greatest successes of the outgoing year. Thanks to quick and decisive actions - by allocating over 100 billion zlotys to aid Polish companies - it was possible to fend off the risk of recurrence of mass unemployment despite the crisis. These actions must be continued in the coming year, especially targeting the industries which have been most severely affected by the pandemic.
The year 2020 was exceptional also due to the presidential elections. Although it was not easy to conduct them safely, we have managed to do so. More than 20 million citizens went to the polls, realizing that every vote matters. Today, I want to thank all my Compatriots once again for doing so, regardless of whom you voted for. A record-breaking turnout gives one a strong democratic mandate. It also proves the stability and maturity of our Polish democracy. Thank you very much for this testimony.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
We see how the whole world is struggling with another wave of the epidemic. Tight restrictions and limitations have been recently put in place all across Europe. We also need to be bracing ourselves for even more self-sacrifice in the coming months, as the difficult battle with the epidemic continues.
We have just launched a national quarantine. We are making this effort because we know that only decisive actions will stop the spread of the epidemic. We are a sensible, responsible people and I am convinced that driven by our solicitude for the health and safety of each of us, we will show understanding for the restrictions which are deemed necessary.
The New Year 2021 will be a time of a gradual recovery of normal life. The National Vaccination Programme gives us hope. We trust that the vaccine will allow us to come to grips with the pandemic and will help us return to normality.
For many months now, I have been involved in activities aimed at providing the Poles with quick access to vaccination against COVID-19. These activities, undertaken in cooperation with our partners from the European Union, have been successful. Today we are ready to carry out a vaccination programme on a mass scale. In recent weeks I have been speaking with many experts, doctors, and scientists on this subject. They are in agreement that the vaccine is effective and safe. They urge us to tap this great opportunity. I add my voice to these appeals. Of course, I will also take part in the National Vaccination Programme.
In the coming year, we must strengthen the Polish economy. How quickly we return on the path of dynamic growth depends on us. May the time resumption of the normal functioning of all private and public institutions come soon.
We welcome the New Year 2021 with hope. We trust that it will be a better one. We enter it enriched by difficult experiences. We had to change our habits and behaviour. More than ever, everyday life in the times of pandemic has made us realize how much we need each other. Therefore, it is also a time of great kindness, openness, readiness to help and support others. May this benefit remain with us and in us even after the pandemic.
Let us enter the New Year 2021 braced up with a sense of self-confidence and with the hope that all the challenges in store for us in the next twelve months, equally in our private and professional lives, shall be overcome. I do believe this is going to be a good year for Poland and for the Polish people!