Return to Europe: Four years of Poland’s EU membership

Puchalska, Bogusia A (2008) Return to Europe: Four years of Poland’s EU membership. Journal of Humanitas University and Lancashire Law School, 2 . pp. 79-98.

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The standards of democracy and the set of values contained in the EU Treaties have developed over 50 years since the commitment to ‘an ever closer union was declared in the preamble to the Treaty of Rom. The process of accession to the EU has been a vital catalyst in steering the democratic and economic reforms in the new Central and Eastern European member states in a particular direction aligned with the objectives of the European Treaties.1 This article sets to assess levels of democratization and commitment to, broadly understood, European values in Poland after more than four years of European Union membership. It is based on analyses of some of the recent opinions polls. The discussion of prevailing in Polish society attitudes to the EU is placed in historical context. Issues relevant to democratization are related to some aspects of accession and post-accession processes. The main argument is considering the reasons and implication of the very weak support in Poland for the cultural aspects of EU integration and weak democratic consolidation of the Polish political system. The concept of Europeanization is used in the sense of collective commitment to goals and values perceived as ‘European’.

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