Friday 30 August 2019
- Sadiq to attend ceremony at Westerplatte in Gdansk to mark 80th anniversary of start of World War Two
- Key meetings with senior Polish politicians, businesses, young people and community groups in Warsaw
- Sadiq to meet the Mayors of Warsaw and Gdańsk to promote solidarity and peace
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will begin a two-day visit to Gdańsk and Warsaw in Poland tomorrow (Saturday) night to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War Two and to demonstrate that London will always be open for business and investment.
Sadiq will aim to strengthen ties with one of the EU’s fastest growing economies and highlight how London will always be a welcoming home for the close to 200,000 Polish nationals who live in the capital.
At meetings with senior politicians, businesses, young people and community groups, the Mayor will promote his London is Open message and highlight the continued need to combat the rise of far-right extremism across Europe and the need for progressive leaders to work together.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am looking forward to visiting Poland to bang the drum for London and to spread the message that, however Brexit turns out, London will always be open for business, trade and talent and a welcoming home for Polish citizens.
“I am truly honoured to have been invited to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two. With far-right extremism on the rise on a scale we have not seen for decades, I will be using this visit to make the positive case for tolerance and inclusion in London, Poland and across Europe.”
Sadiq has been invited by the Mayor of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War Two at a ceremony in nearby Westerplatte.
Here, he will attend a special commemorative ceremony that takes place at 4.45am on Sunday – the exact time that the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on the Polish Garrison at Westerplatte and marked the outbreak of World War Two in Europe.
Following the ceremony, Sadiq will speak at a conference to discuss the lessons learnt from World War Two and what can be done to avoid future conflicts through tolerance and understanding. He will also meet with a delegation of young Londoners led by Imran Sanaullah MBE, CEO of the Patchwork Foundation, who are attending an international youth conference organised by the city of Gdańsk.
In Warsaw on Monday, the Mayor will meet with business representatives, young people and community groups to promote the London Is Open message. He will highlight the opportunities that London continues to offer to Polish entrepreneurs and start-up and scale-up companies, and meet with young people to discuss the key challenges facing cities and wider civil society.
Sadiq will also lay a wreath at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes before taking part in a debate at POLIN – the Museum of the History of Polish Jews – to highlight the continued need to combat the rise of far-right extremism across Europe.
The Mayor will be joined at these events by the Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, who is a leading advocate in Poland of the growing need to promote tolerance and celebrate diversity.
The Mayor of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, said: “I am delighted that during the ceremony to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two, Gdańsk will host the Mayor of London. By tradition – on 1st September at Westerplatte at 4.45am – we pay tribute to the victims of World War Two in a place which has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the invasion of Poland. I’m proud that we will then join with our fellow Mayor from Warsaw and representatives from Berlin to express our common voice for solidarity and peace. Gdańsk has been hit particularly hard over the last 80 years, but it has made the city open to newcomers, tolerance and with a true understanding of the value of peace. A city of freedom and solidarity.”
The Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, said: “Warsaw and London, like most big cities in the world, face the same challenges: climate change, technological disruption and rising costs of providing high-quality public services, to name a few. In politically turbulent times, faced with the rise of populism, we need to defend the concept of openness. Our cities need to stand together, to share our experiences and best practices, finding innovative solutions to improve the quality of citizens’ life.”