View Full Version : A potential European power: Poland

Saturday, May 10th, 2003, 02:34 AM
Hey all, I wonder what changes between Polish-German/French relations will occur after Poland joins the EU?

Europe's new heavyweight: Poland
By Jan Repa
BBC Central Europe analyst

Poland's participation in the invasion of Iraq, and its self-declared role as America's "best friend" in Central-Eastern Europe, have set teeth on edge in France and Germany.

Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz has powerful friends

Both countries - the traditional EU heavyweights - worry about the political and economic implications of having to deal with a former Soviet satellite with a newly-rediscovered liking for the limelight.

It appears likely than when the EU enlarges, both sides will face a steep learning curve in terms of mutual coexistence.

As Poles like to remind others, their country is comparable in size to Spain and accounts for more than half the population of the 10 countries due to join the EU in May 2004.

It is clearly not one of Europe's "small" nations - like the Czech Republic or Bulgaria. But it is not one of the acknowledged "big" countries either.

False dawns

Poles have often suffered from acute insecurity.

Looking east, Poles see themselves as Westerners

In the 17th Century, Poland was the biggest state in Europe - but by the end of the 18th, it had been wiped completely off the map.

Since then, there have been several false dawns - and several determined attempts by neighbouring states to destroy the Polish identity itself.

When they look West, Poles tend to feel like poor and as despised "country cousins".

Looking East, they have traditionally seen themselves as superior "Westerners" in an "Eastern" environment.

Ideally, Poland would like to be friends both with countries like Germany and France - and with America.

But they do not trust the West Europeans to support them in a crisis.

They also note that when America is in dispute with Paris and Berlin, their own usefulness to Washington increases.

East-West bridge

Relying on the Americans may be a risky strategy in the longer term.

But, for the time being, it provides dividends in terms of higher international visibility.

Yet Poland is not, of itself, a major international player. In 1950, its GDP was roughly the same as Spain's.

Today - after half a century of Communist rule - it is two-and-a-half times smaller.

Although Poland aspires to be a bridge between the West and its own former Eastern "backyard", the degree of Polish investment and influence in countries like Ukraine or Belarus is tiny.

Relations with Russia remain cool and mistrustful.

Ultimately, Poles still have to demonstrate, to themselves and others, that they can make the grade.

Over the next few years, Poland can be expected to play the European Union game for whatever benefits it can extract.

There will also have to be a shift in attitude on the part of some West European countries, which will no longer be able to treat Poles as people to be ignored or patronised by turns.

Despite French reservations, Poland has been promised 27 seats on the EU Council of Ministers - only three fewer than Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

Saturday, May 10th, 2003, 03:44 PM
there's something fishy about this article,because the only fortune of Poland is their prostitution business.

Saturday, May 10th, 2003, 03:58 PM
I am sure Poland has other qualities apart from its prostitution business which is not a quality at all.

Saturday, May 10th, 2003, 04:30 PM
I really hope Poland is able to build itself up into a power. Hopefully joining the EU will help them in this....especially from a financial point of view.
The fall of communism destroyed the economies in most of the former eastern block, and led to the rising of the "Russian" mafia as a dominating force.
From what I've heard the mafia is the true ruler of Poland, and this pisses me off to no end. I want to visit Poland someday. Yet with the mafia running the show it just seems too unsafe.
Poland needs a stabilized economy along with a guy who will do to the "Russian" mafia what Mussolini did to the Sicilian mafia.

Saturday, May 10th, 2003, 09:23 PM
I've visited Poland many times and it is completley safe, infact much safer than many other European countries. If you are a member of a gang, you might be in trouble, but the average tourist is perfectly fine. I hope that Poland wil prosper under the EU, and the deep divisions between it and Germany will be lessened as time goes on. . .

Saturday, May 10th, 2003, 09:38 PM

Thanks for the information. That's great to hear!

Right Wing Eagle
Saturday, May 10th, 2003, 11:58 PM
You're done. ~ Azdaja

Sunday, May 11th, 2003, 12:13 AM
Originally posted by Right Wing Eagle

"Right Wing Eagle", please construct your posts in a civilized manner, containing at least some sample of intelligence. :rolleyes: