16 May 2019

CASE Report: Our Europe: 15 Years of Poland in the European Union

We are pleased to announce that CASE has published a report "Our Europe: 15 years of Poland in the European Union", which summarizes the economic and social benefits of Poland's membership in the EU based on hard evidence, and discusses our country’s perspective on the key challenges of further European integration.

 

European integration became a peaceful response of European countries to the dramatic events of the 20th century - sanguinary wars and the extermination of entire nations. Originally an economic cooperation within the Coal and Steel Community, it brought tangible and quick benefits, leading to the creation of the European Economic Community by France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Over the years, more countries joined the EEC; in the 1970s - Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, in the 1980s - Greece, Spain and Portugal, in the 90s - Sweden, Finland and Austria, creating a common market. Its rapid development required the creation of European institutions and regulations to ensure the necessary freedom of action throughout the entire Community.

As integration and globalization progressed, economic cooperation deepened and pushed the way for further political cooperation. This was expressed in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, which announced the creation of Economic and Monetary Union and formally transformed the European Economic Community into the European Union. By building integration on the foundations of economic freedoms, innovation and efficiency, the EU was also increasingly committed to upholding human rights, civil liberties, the rule of law, equality and ensuring the social wellbeing of people's lives. It implemented the values ​​of solidarity and territorial cohesion, directing funds to the development stimulation of the neglected regions on the one hand, and on the other - to the revitalization of the European cultural heritage. The Union focused on dialogue and achieving the consent of all members, demanding respect of joint arrangements and their application in national practice, meanwhile establishing institutions and control procedures. The Treaty of Lisbon from 2007 became a further step for stronger integration.   

In the beginning of the 21st century, the Central and Eastern European countries joined the Union, which freed them from the guardianship of the collapsing Soviet Union, introduced democratic political systems and transformed the centrally planned economy into market economies. Poland signed the Association Agreement on December 16, 1991, and formally joined the European Union on May 1, 2004.

For many compatriots, the Europeanness of Poland is obvious, it is difficult even for them to imagine how the fate of our country would be shaped without participating in European integration. The young generation in particular treats the enormous progress of civilization achieved by us through participation in the Union as something given and natural. However, the awareness of what our starting point was, what path we have gone through and how EU activities have contributed to it should always accompany us. Without this awareness, careful verification of facts and appreciation of our achievements, we risk being subjected to unfounded arguments of opponents of European integration and making irreversible mistakes. This report has been prepared for those who want to know these facts. It explores and assesses the 15 years of Poland's membership from the perspective of the experiences of the integration process, its barriers and successes as well as the challenges of the future.

The report is the result of the collective work of numerous experts from various fields, who have been analyzing the multidimensional effects of the EU institutions and cooperation with the member countries on the basis of European values ​​and mechanisms for many years. The authors summarize the benefits of Poland's membership of the European Union on the basis of facts, along with the obstacles and challenges of further European integration.

The report was prepared by CASE, one of the oldest think tanks in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, taking advantage of it’s almost 30 years of experience in providing objective analysis and recommendations on socio-economic topics. The report is both an expression of concern for the future of Poland in the EU and the contribution of the authors to the debate on further European integration.

 

 The report is currently only available in Polish