Winners and Losers of EU Integration: Policy Issues for Central and Eastern Europe

By Helena Tang | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Poland

Maria Karasinska-Fendler

Elžbieta Skotnicka-Illasiewicz

Kazimierz Sobotka

Janusz Éwierkocki

European Institute Lodz, Poland


From Transformation to Integration

Poland’s integration to the EU is a strategic goal, seen as an anchor of the transformation process that may consolidate the process of democratization and systemic reforms and accelerate its economic development.1 It means that the integration process links directly to general, systemic transformation and the process of opening up Poland’s economy to market rules, global challenges, and an international approach to decisionmaking. That revolutionary change, inaugurated with the fundamental and successful effort of the “Solidarity” movement in the destruction of the post-Yalta political order in Europe, led to the destruction of the Iron Curtain and to the progressive inclusion of Central Europe again into the geopolitical and economic map of Europe.

An enormous political mobilization developed from residents’ frustration with the shortages in the economy and violations of human rights, all of which had become clear to them, thanks to improved communication channels. Several public opinion polls conducted in the lirst years of the systemic reforms confirmed the enthusiasm and satisfaction of the Polish population toward the transformation and integration process.

At first, the transformation, supported by residents’ enthusiasm, did not need the reinforcements of globalization, liberalization of trade, and integration, because

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