"Money can't buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy” (Spike Milligan)






Poland is located in the heart of the Central European lowlands, stretching from northern France to Russia. This explains that the name of "Polanen" derives from the Slavic word for "field".


Thanks to its vast plains and the fertile soils of Silesia, Poland is an agricultural country (predominantly rye, barley, wheat, sugar beet and potatoes). Moreover, the production of pork is one of the largest in Europe. The coal production in Silesia is the fifth largest in the world, but the funding does not pay more, even though the industry has been restructured five times since 1990. The mining industry also includes iron, zinc, copper, sulfur, and natural gas - mainly in the Carpathians.

All this led to the formation of iron, steel, machinery and textile industries in Silesia and in Warsaw, Lodz and Poznan. On the Baltic coast, Poland has the docks of Gdansk, Gdynia and the port of Stettin on the Oder estuary.

There, the shipbuilding industry is still somewhat active. Poland maintains trade relations with the Scandinavian countries (the Swedish coast is situated only 150 kilometers away), and it is a member of the CBSS, in use since 1992, which unites all the countries bordering the Baltic Sea in an effort against pollution and for economic development.

Poland has 312 000 square kilometers - with 38 million inhabitants it is the most populous of the ten EU accession countries of 2004.

97 percent of Poles are Catholic, therefore the country has often felt as a Catholic outpost against the Orthodox Eastern Europe.

One must not forget that the EU accession for Poland 45 years after his involuntary membership of the atheist Soviet bloc is in some ways a return to Europe.

Now for the problems: It must not be denied that the Polish EU membership also causes concern. On both sides and at least four reasons:

The present borders of Poland are from the year 1945. Before WWII one third of the territory belonged to Germany. Therefore, there is concern in Poland that Germans expelled from Poland will try to buy back the land of their ancestors after the EU enlargement.

Therefore, the Polish government has reached that EU citizens are allowed to buy only after a transitional period of twelve years of agricultural land in Poland.
A second reason for concern is agriculture. In Warsaw, people are afraid of competition on the European market. And Brussels is worried about the rising cost of the common agricultural policy. For in the Polish agricultural sector almost 20% of workers are employed, who earn only 4% of GDP. In addition, 56% of companies are small businesses with less than 5 hectares of arable land, who do not qualify for funding from the European Structural Funds.
In the next 20 years there are therefore likely to disappear 40-50% of the jobs the Polish agriculture, which will bring significant social costs.
A third reason for concern is the Polish eastern border. The three eastern borders with the neighboring states of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are the new external border of the European Union.

Poland will meet the terms of the Schengen Agreement, but will at the same time remain flexible over its three neighbors to the east. The idea is to protect itself against smuggling, terrorism and crime, without compromising passenger and goods traffic. Furthermore, one might not foreclose against Belarus and Ukraine, as Polish people live there and these countries are important economic partners.

In the wake of the economic crisis many Ukrainians are trying their luck abroad, and there are already nearly a million Ukrainians working illegally in Poland. In addition, in 2002, most Asian refugees who tried to enter the EU, travelled via Poland.

The fourth reason for concern, relating to some member countries (including Germany and France), is Poland's participation in the intervention against Iraq in 2003. This attitude of Poland had probably several reasons. First, we must not forget the geographical situation of the country, which had a large influence on its history. On the map it is clear that Poland has hardly any natural boundaries (except in the south, the Sudeten and Carpathian Mountains), and therefore was almost always unprotected against military attacks.

After all, Poland has twice disappeared from the maps of Europe. For 123 years from 1795 to 1918:


And then again in the Second World War when it was swallowed up by the Soviet and the German neighbors.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Poland after the fall of communism approached the West European security structures. And Poland was the first to join the NATO thanks to the approval of Washington in 1999, while it had to wait for EU membership until 2004. Of course, this immediate support has made the U.S. popular in Central Europe. And the Polish decision to buy American F16 fighter jets rather than the Eurofighter, has budgetary reasons but also safety reasons. Moreover, the U.S. is home to the world's largest Polish minority. There live more than 9 million Poles. And so the support for American intervention in Iraq had perhaps even moral reasons.