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Familiarity Doesn’t Breed Contempt: Polish Attitudes Toward European Integration in a Comparative Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  general patterns. The analysis of this study on the national data before accession gives evidence that determinants focused on economic benefits for Poland – and not personally. However, citizens mainly perceived the impact of transition at the personal level. Higher levels of opposition emerged between 1999 and 2001 after the opening of the negotiation process (March 1998). It is possible that citizens could oppose reforms, and the market economy at the personal level – as they brought about personal social costs and dissatisfaction. Nonetheless, Poles still supported membership, as it was beneficial to the country. Polish citizens who were ‘winners’ would have voted in favour of membership, while possibly opposing market economy. That gives more significance to the European factor that could intertwine with the economic independent variable before accession. After accession EU benefits materialised and the economic voting is salient in framing public support for the EU, and it is likely to be determinant in all the CEE countries and also at the personal level. Jasiewicz (2004) underlined and understood that ‘the anti-EU stand is associated not so much with structural factors or religiosity per se’, but rather with a perception that ‘things are going in the wrong direction’. As things went ‘in the right direction’, support increased in Poland, and the evaluation of the economic situation, particularly at the personal level, became significant. In addition to this it is important to stress the role of religion. Religion is not significant before joining the EU, but it may explain a certain attitude raising during the transition process, after the opening of the negotiations (1998-2001). Although it is slightly less significant of the economic variable, the case of Catholic CEE countries is likely to follow Nelsen et al.’s findings (2001). Religion is likely to be significant as long as it matters in Polish lives, together with the economic evaluations that can become, as Nelsen et al. highlight, the only significant independent variable in case of a decreasing importance of religion in people’s life. Therefore, determinants of support changed. Before membership the EU was the main mobilising force, the idea that the EU was going to benefit the country reflected on the determinant significance of the domestic economic proxy. However, measuring the proxy using both the economic situation of the country and the material situation of the household, results give evidence that public support for the EU is not linked to a personal economic benefit. After accession both the utilitarian proxies are important with the same significance with past and present evaluation, in a negative relationship, as expected. However, still maintaining the distinction between personal and economic benefits, on the evaluations on the future situations, the national economic factor is less significant compared to the individual 14

Authors: Guerra, Simona.
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general patterns. The analysis of this study on the national data before accession gives
evidence that determinants focused on economic benefits for Poland – and not personally.
However, citizens mainly perceived the impact of transition at the personal level. Higher
levels of opposition emerged between 1999 and 2001 after the opening of the negotiation
process (March 1998). It is possible that citizens could oppose reforms, and the market
economy at the personal level – as they brought about personal social costs and
dissatisfaction. Nonetheless, Poles still supported membership, as it was beneficial to the
country. Polish citizens who were ‘winners’ would have voted in favour of membership,
while possibly opposing market economy.
That gives more significance to the European factor that could intertwine with the
economic independent variable before accession. After accession EU benefits materialised
and the economic voting is salient in framing public support for the EU, and it is likely to be
determinant in all the CEE countries and also at the personal level. Jasiewicz (2004)
underlined and understood that ‘the anti-EU stand is associated not so much with structural
factors or religiosity per se’, but rather with a perception that ‘things are going in the wrong
direction’. As things went ‘in the right direction’, support increased in Poland, and the
evaluation of the economic situation, particularly at the personal level, became significant. In
addition to this it is important to stress the role of religion. Religion is not significant before
joining the EU, but it may explain a certain attitude raising during the transition process, after
the opening of the negotiations (1998-2001). Although it is slightly less significant of the
economic variable, the case of Catholic CEE countries is likely to follow Nelsen et al.’s
findings (2001). Religion is likely to be significant as long as it matters in Polish lives,
together with the economic evaluations that can become, as Nelsen et al. highlight, the only
significant independent variable in case of a decreasing importance of religion in people’s
life.
Therefore, determinants of support changed. Before membership the EU was the main
mobilising force, the idea that the EU was going to benefit the country reflected on the
determinant significance of the domestic economic proxy. However, measuring the proxy
using both the economic situation of the country and the material situation of the household,
results give evidence that public support for the EU is not linked to a personal economic
benefit. After accession both the utilitarian proxies are important with the same significance
with past and present evaluation, in a negative relationship, as expected. However, still
maintaining the distinction between personal and economic benefits, on the evaluations on the
future situations, the national economic factor is less significant compared to the individual
14


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