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Familiarity Doesn’t Breed Contempt: Polish Attitudes Toward European Integration in a Comparative Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  campaign, most of the respondents to the ISP survey asserted that they came across the campaign, finding it important. These types of organisations, outside the government, were recognised as a peculiar and efficient instrument of the Polish campaign (Fałkowski 2005: 101). After the 2004 European parliament election the majority of Polish people felt that the media did not provide sufficient information, and information was an important factor impacting on the low turnout in the European parliament election (Wessels 2007). Surveys taken in the run-up to the almost scheduled Constitutional Treaty in 2005, reported that those who generally felt more informed and supportive toward the EU, reacted negatively as they perceived they did not have sufficient information in order to make a decision on the EU. In April 2005, respondents to a survey on their knowledge on the Constitutional Treaty admitted that their knowledge on the issue was ‘definitely’ (42%) and ‘rather’ (26%) ‘insufficient’ (CBOS 2005c). In June 2005, after the double France and Dutch rejections, also the generally most Euroenthusiast Polish citizens, the best-educated, became more sceptical toward the Constitution (CBOS 2005d). As before accession it seemed that the uncertainty due to lack of information could affect citizens’ choices, and membership did not improve people’s perceptions of their knowledge on the EU. In Warsaw, the students asserted they had to study the EU ‘at school’, although they stressed they could trust neither newspapers, as there was ‘manipulation’, nor politicians, as they were ‘demagogues’. Information was defined as ‘black and white’, while they would have liked to receive a broader range of information. In Zielona Góra, students spoke about the official sources of information, of the programme PHARE, the Centres of European Information, and civic initiatives. However, one student stressed that they did not receive any information on the role of the institutions. Participants were asked whether they felt informed, as in both cases it did not seem that integration changed the mixture of feelings towards the EU they had before accession. TABLE 3 ABOUT HERE During both the discussions, students looked very critically at the information they received. Students of the University of Zielona Góra seemed to underline that there were more information programmes before accession than currently. Sources of information, and commercial television programmes, still provided information on the EU, but without information on the ‘structure’ of the EU. 18

Authors: Guerra, Simona.
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campaign, most of the respondents to the ISP survey asserted that they came across the
campaign, finding it important. These types of organisations, outside the government, were
recognised as a peculiar and efficient instrument of the Polish campaign (Fałkowski 2005:
101). After the 2004 European parliament election the majority of Polish people felt that the
media did not provide sufficient information, and information was an important factor
impacting on the low turnout in the European parliament election (Wessels 2007).
Surveys taken in the run-up to the almost scheduled Constitutional Treaty in 2005, reported
that those who generally felt more informed and supportive toward the EU, reacted negatively
as they perceived they did not have sufficient information in order to make a decision on the
EU. In April 2005, respondents to a survey on their knowledge on the Constitutional Treaty
admitted that their knowledge on the issue was ‘definitely’ (42%) and ‘rather’ (26%)
‘insufficient’ (CBOS 2005c). In June 2005, after the double France and Dutch rejections, also
the generally most Euroenthusiast Polish citizens, the best-educated, became more sceptical
toward the Constitution (CBOS 2005d). As before accession it seemed that the uncertainty
due to lack of information could affect citizens’ choices, and membership did not improve
people’s perceptions of their knowledge on the EU.
In Warsaw, the students asserted they had to study the EU ‘at school’, although they
stressed they could trust neither newspapers, as there was ‘manipulation’, nor politicians, as
they were ‘demagogues’. Information was defined as ‘black and white’, while they would
have liked to receive a broader range of information. In Zielona Góra, students spoke about
the official sources of information, of the programme PHARE, the Centres of European
Information, and civic initiatives. However, one student stressed that they did not receive any
information on the role of the institutions.
Participants were asked whether they felt informed, as in both cases it did not seem that
integration changed the mixture of feelings towards the EU they had before accession.
TABLE 3 ABOUT HERE
During both the discussions, students looked very critically at the information they received.
Students of the University of Zielona Góra seemed to underline that there were more
information programmes before accession than currently. Sources of information, and
commercial television programmes, still provided information on the EU, but without
information on the ‘structure’ of the EU.
18


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