Thursday, March 30, 2017
   
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European Union's Copenhagen Summit

Poland had initially asked for the extra 2bn euros to be made available - arguing that without extra subsidy its farmers would face ruin inside the European single market. The Polish prime minister, Leszek Miller, flew to Copenhagen under heavy pressure from a suspicious public, especially farmers and Euro-skeptics that are accusing that Poland is being treated as a second-class member of the EU club.

The true is, that the conditions offered to Poland and other countries for the beginning of EU membership were much less generous than offered to previous members and also less generous than initially offered for 6 countries instead of 10 now. But also the economical condition of Europe is not that as before (high unemployment, slow economy growth).

Germany, which is a biggest financial contributor to EU is simply saying that it cannot afford anything more. Germany is experiencing economical difficulties especially since unification with Eastern part.
In a result of a compromise in the last minute deal, Poland received additionally 1 billions of Euro. This money should be paid much faster than originally planned and should help Polish budget and Polish farmers before hefty EU membership dues will need to be paid back to EU. The other countries-candidates were offered also about 1.5 billions dollars more than in the previous package approved in October. It was still less than what was being proposed a couple of years ago to these countries in the first offer.

Poles do not want to be only recipients of help from rich Western European countries. They want also to contribute to EU but they do not want to lose on joining Union. They cannot afford to lose. Danuta Huebner, the Polish European integration Minister said, "We fight for Poland's interests but we also want Poland's interests to serve the union".

So, finally the deal was reached (December 12-13, 2002). The only obstacle on a way is a referendum The majority of people seem to support the idea of Poland being a part of union. Nevertheless the fraction of supporters of accession to EU is not that high (60-70%) and they are not that active that the pro-EU politicians can be convinced of the positive outcome. There is also another danger. Since the end of communism the amount of people who were participating in any elections was very low, sometimes oscillating just about 50%. In order for a referendum in Poland to be valid - more than 50% of people have to participate.

Some politicians support an idea that this rule should be changed and a referendum's result should be valid simply by a majority vote. Some people suggest that the referendum should take place during two consecutive days instead of one (usually all elections and referenda took place on Sundays). It does not look probable that any of these suggestions will be taken seriously by Polish president, Aleksander Kwasniewski, or a Polish parliament (called "sejm").

This article was based on the press information from services of BBC, Guardian Unlimited European Integration service and Polish Newspaper Rzeczpospolita.

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