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Familiarity Doesn’t Breed Contempt: Polish Attitudes Toward European Integration in a Comparative Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  surveys (CBOS 2007), but also two of the most quoted benefits during the focus groups debates. The short term benefits changed the determinants of support after one year of membership: in future perspective personal benefits increased their importance over the general benefits for the country. In June 2005 Poles had a ‘positive’ image of the EU, 51% (9% had a ‘very positive’ image), and 62% of them asserted it was due to the positive effects of membership on Poland (Eurobarometer 63.4 2005: 20-2). In Autumn 2004 Eurobarometer registered an increase of 8% in those responding that membership was a good thing for Poland (50%) (Eurobarometer 62 2005: 69). Before accession, particularly in the run-up to membership, high expectations were crushed by the slow, costly pace of the integration process. The idea that Poland was becoming a ‘second order’ member state became the focus of articles and academic comments (Kolarska-Bobińka 2001; Szczerbiak 2001). The German fears (Eurobarometer 55 2001; Eurobarometer 58 2003) of being swamped by workers flowing across the borders, spread to almost all of the EU15 member states. Poland was going to become a EU member state without either the complete free movement of workers (a right enshrined in the founding treaties) or the common currency. The Summit of Copenhagen (13 th December 2002) established that Poland would have been a net payer from the first day of 2004 – despite membership not commencing until May – and would have benefited only partially in the first nine years of membership. Direct payments to farmers were going to be delivered gradually, 25% in 2004, 35% after two years, up to 100% only in 2013 (Grabbe 2002). Even if following the Copenhagen decisions, Poles considered the agreements were positive, as time continued concerns rose. Poles expected benefits for the country, but not at the personal level, whilst, on the contrary the length of Polish membership correlated with increasing benefits at the personal level and subjective economic perceptions become the most important factor in future perspectives. Finally, after accession the EU factor can be measured using some of the direct questions respondents were asked within the 2005 PNES. On the impact of the EU on family’s life (out of 1,201 respondents), the great majority (62.3%) perceived ‘neither benefits nor damages’ from membership. However, as underlined, benefits could be perceived particularly for the country and on the Polish economy (variable ‘103a’) - 63.1% answered ‘a little’ and ‘a lot’. Results are not so different in the case of Polish agriculture; although funds were reaching Poland gradually – as established in Copenhagen (December 2002) - still 67.6% could assert that agriculture could benefit (‘a little’ and ‘a lot’). 12

Authors: Guerra, Simona.
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surveys (CBOS 2007), but also two of the most quoted benefits during the focus groups
debates. The short term benefits changed the determinants of support after one year of
membership: in future perspective personal benefits increased their importance over the
general benefits for the country. In June 2005 Poles had a ‘positive’ image of the EU, 51%
(9% had a ‘very positive’ image), and 62% of them asserted it was due to the positive effects
of membership on Poland (Eurobarometer 63.4 2005: 20-2). In Autumn 2004 Eurobarometer
registered an increase of 8% in those responding that membership was a good thing for
Poland (50%) (Eurobarometer 62 2005: 69).
Before accession, particularly in the run-up to membership, high expectations were
crushed by the slow, costly pace of the integration process. The idea that Poland was
becoming a ‘second order’ member state became the focus of articles and academic comments
(Kolarska-Bobińka 2001; Szczerbiak 2001). The German fears (Eurobarometer 55 2001;
Eurobarometer 58 2003) of being swamped by workers flowing across the borders, spread to
almost all of the EU15 member states. Poland was going to become a EU member state
without either the complete free movement of workers (a right enshrined in the founding
treaties) or the common currency. The Summit of Copenhagen (13
th
December 2002)
established that Poland would have been a net payer from the first day of 2004 – despite
membership not commencing until May – and would have benefited only partially in the first
nine years of membership. Direct payments to farmers were going to be delivered gradually,
25% in 2004, 35% after two years, up to 100% only in 2013 (Grabbe 2002). Even if
following the Copenhagen decisions, Poles considered the agreements were positive, as time
continued concerns rose. Poles expected benefits for the country, but not at the personal
level, whilst, on the contrary the length of Polish membership correlated with increasing
benefits at the personal level and subjective economic perceptions become the most important
factor in future perspectives.
Finally, after accession the EU factor can be measured using some of the direct questions
respondents were asked within the 2005 PNES. On the impact of the EU on family’s life (out
of 1,201 respondents), the great majority (62.3%) perceived ‘neither benefits nor damages’
from membership. However, as underlined, benefits could be perceived particularly for the
country and on the Polish economy (variable ‘103a’) - 63.1% answered ‘a little’ and ‘a lot’.
Results are not so different in the case of Polish agriculture; although funds were reaching
Poland gradually – as established in Copenhagen (December 2002) - still 67.6% could assert
that agriculture could benefit (‘a little’ and ‘a lot’).
12


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