There are three main concepts about where the place of Poland in Europe should be:
- Union with the countries of Eastern Europe
- Membership in the European Union
- Strengthening of the alliance with the USA
These concepts are not completely separated. For instance some people believe that Poland could build a strong association with the USA and also become a member of the EU or to be in close relationships with West and East in the same time.
On the other hand some Euro-skeptics believe that strong union with the USA would be a good and completely sufficient alternative for Poland and would prevent any "damage" or compromise caused by joining the European Union.
Of course the most common idea is a concept of building the strong bonds with United Europe as the first priority. We will talk about it in the later articles.
Geographically and historically Poland was always a country on the boundary between the West and the East. The stereotype of Poland as Eastern Europe country is the product of the 40 years of belonging to the Soviet block after the WW II. Poland is definitively the country of central Europe with the policies and interests which were oscillating through the centuries sometimes more eastwards or westwards.
Polish bonds to Western Europe are established since 966, when Poland was recognized as an independent country by accepting the Christianity from Rome. Our Catholic Church was able to keep a national spirit during long years when Poland did not exist as a country thanks to its independence from the local government in Poland. During these years Polish intelligentsia developed a second center of Polish culture in France. Polish political freedom, religious tolerance, as well as the Polish Constitution, one of the first democratic constitutions in the world also find its roots in the liberal Western culture.
Polish bonds with the Eastern Europe are also very strong. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (XV-XVIII) was the largest state in Central Europe (here is the map). For centuries many Polish citizens were of eastern European (Belarussian, Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Ruthenian) origin. They influenced Polish culture immensely. It is just the period after the WW II when Poland is quite homogenous ethnically and nationally. Before, Poland was a conglomerate of people of different nationalities, cultures and religions living usually in peace next to each other.