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Eulogy to Sławomir Skrzypek, President of Narodowy Bank Polski

Speech by Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the ECB
19 April 2010, Warsaw, Poland

Ladies and gentlemen,

It was on Saturday, one week ago, that we learned of the tragic plane crash near Smolensk. I was shocked and deeply saddened. My thoughts were with the family of Sławomir Skrzypek, whom we mourn today with the deepest grief.

Sławomir served for over three years as the President of Narodowy Bank Polski. We worked closely together and met regularly in the General Council of the ECB. Sławomir was one of the youngest central bank governors in Europe. He brought to the General Council a thoughtful approach to our tasks and the vision and energy. His enthusiasm and commitment to Poland’s current and future role within the European Union will always be remembered.

On behalf of the ECB’s Executive Board and all our staff, and on behalf of the ECB’s General Council, let me say once again how deeply we regret the loss of Sławomir. His family lost a beloved husband and father, and his colleagues have lost a good friend and an outstanding professional.

Chateaubriand – the French poet – wrote: “In touching us, death does not defeat us; it only makes us invisible.”

Sławomir will always remain in our memory. The life of the dead continues in the memory of the living.

Our thoughts are today with the families of all the victims of the tragedy, and with the people of Poland. I have great respect and affection for Poland. I have closely followed the impressive steps forward that Poland has taken in its recent past. Its progress is of great significance also for Europe.

This progress embodies the strength and resilience of the Polish people, who have always stood together in the face of adversity. I am confident that the dignity and solidarity consistently shown by the people of Poland in past times will prevail once again.

There can be no rational explanation for such a tragedy, and under such circumstances it is better not to try to find one. It is impossible to glean any sense from an event which has taken so many lives and devastated so many others. Our only comfort can be that it will surely bring the Polish people and the people in Europe even closer together.

Together with my colleague from the ECB’s Executive Board, José Manuel González-Páramo, we were planning to be with you today, to express our sincerest condolences once again to the family of Sławomir, to whom we bid farewell today. Our thoughts will continue to be with the people of Poland, who lost many outstanding public servants of the Polish nation. Among them – Sławomir Skrzypek.

Rest in peace. Spoczywaj w pokoju, Sławku.

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