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Central and Eastern European Attitudes in the Face of Union by Simona Guerra (auth.)

By Simona Guerra (auth.)

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Poland as a country chose the EU as its ‘return to Europe’, because its history belonged to Europe and the EU represented the political and economic help necessary to fulfil the transformation process. 04 Source: CBOS. Eastern borders. Poles enthusiastically supported EU integration, possibly thinking of a fast and painless procedure. At the beginning the idea was not held on a concrete perception of a future perspective. The changes already implemented after the fall of the Communist regime allowed people to build their perception on further social and economic improvements.

About 60 per cent declared themselves in favour of integration, and this supported the assumption that patterns of support were less likely to follow political cues in Poland, and post-Communist countries. As in previous years, people with a higher education and income, working as businessmen, white-collar workers or self-employed, were the ones favouring accession while farmers comprised the percentage least favourable. Finally, a high percentage of Poles thought that the government was too compliant in the negotiation process (44 per cent), and that is an issue, which was sensitive not only at the time but also after the 2002 Copenhagen Summit when it was used by political parties for their campaigns.

Finally, this chapter explains patterns and changes following the path to EU accession. The case study of Poland, examined with qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis, offers important observations for the comparative case, where economic perceptions become an important factor in all the post-Communist countries before accession. Chapter 3 is symmetrical to the previous one. It offers both an in-depth analysis of the Polish case and a comparative analysis. This analysis compares and contrasts determinants of attitudes and shows that where the EU brought benefits, the EU is highly supported; where the EU had not a huge impact at the economic level, support is much lower.

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