Committee of Ministers Chairmanship – Poland : November 2004 – May 2005 

Lech Walesa est né en 1943 à Popowo, dans une province alors annexée par l’Allemagne. Machiniste agricole, puis ouvrier électricien sur un chantier naval, il participe, dans les années 70, à des mouvements de grève et devient un leader syndicaliste capable de fédérer autour de lui des centaines d’ouvriers. Sa popularité lui permet de rencontrer Jean-Paul II, qui soutient officiellement la cause ouvrière. En 1980, Lech Walesa fonde le syndicat national Solidarnosc. En 1981, à la faveur de nouvelles grèves, il est arrêté avec 6000 autres syndicalistes. Solidarnosc est dissous. Lech Walesa est relâché en novembre 1982 puis placé en résidence surveillée. En 1983, il reçoit le prix Nobel de la paix. En 1990, il est élu Président de la République. Brouillé avec ses anciens alliés de Solidarnosc, confronté à une instabilité gouvernementale, il est battu par un ancien communiste à l'élection présidentielle de 1995.

Lech Walesa was born in Popowo in 1943, in a province which had been annexed by Germany. Working as a mechanic, before becoming a shipyard electrician, he took part in the strikes of the Seventies and was supported by the hundreds of workers whose trade union he led. His popularity enabled him to meet John Paul II, who offered official support to the workers' cause. In 1980 he founded a national trade union known as Solidarnosc. During further strikes in 1981, he was one of 6 000 trade union members arrested, and Solidarnosc was disbanded. He was released into house arrest in November 1982, and in 1983 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was elected President of Poland in 1990. Following arguments with his former Solidarnosc allies, and facing government instability, he was defeated in the 1995 presidential election by a former Communist.