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Poland is the most pro-life nation in Central Europe (Middle Europe) located on its western side. It has suffered many hardships before and after World War I and II disappearing as a nation in 1875 and re-appearing in 1918. Emerging as a nation again after World War I, Poland was partitioned between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union at the start of World War II. Given nationhood again at the end of the war, it was under the shroud of being a Soviet satellite controlled by a communist regime. Poland finally became liberated from the communist rule in late 1980s. The exact date of the end of communism in Poland is hard to difine, but it is often accepted as July 4, 1989 (the date of the elections won by the Solidarność, or Solidarity movement. Pope John Paul II was from Poland and played a major part in bringing down communism in Poland. Among the nations under Soviet domination, Poland was unique in continuing to keep its strong Catholic roots even in the face of persecution. The capital of Poland is Warsaw.

People

Poland today is ethnically almost homogeneous (98% Polish), in contrast with the period before and during World War II, when there were significant ethnic minorities–4.5 million Ukrainians, 3 million Jews, 1 million Belorussians, and 800,000 Germans. The majority of the Jews were murdered during the German occupation in World War II, and many others emigrated in the succeeding years.

Most Germans left Poland at the end of the war, while many Ukrainians and Belorussians lived in territories incorporated into the then-U.S.S.R. Small Ukrainian, Belorussian, Slovakian, and Lithuanian minorities reside along the borders, and a German minority is concentrated near the southwest city of Opole.

  • Population (July 2006): 38.5 million.
  • Annual growth rate: Unchanging.
  • Ethnic groups: Polish 98%, German, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Lithuanian.
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, Eastern Orthodox, Uniate, Protestant, Judaism.
  • Language: Polish.
  • Education: Literacy–98%.
  • Health (2006): Infant mortality rate–7.2/1,000. Life expectancy–males 71 yrs., females 79 yrs.
  • Work force: 17.2 million. Industry and construction–29%; agriculture–16%; services–54%.

Religion

More than 94% of the population is Roman Catholic. According to the 2007 Annual Statistical Yearbook of Poland, the formal membership of the listed religious groups includes: 33,862,800 Roman Catholics; 506,800 Polish Orthodox Churchmembers; 53,000 Greek Catholics; 126,827 Jehovah's Witnesses; 77,500 Lutherans (Augsburg Confession); 23,670 Old Catholic Mariavits; 21,199 Pentecostals; 9,620 Seventh-day Adventists; 19,035 members of the Polish Catholic Church; 4,881 members of the New Apostolic Church; 4,726 Baptists; 4,445 Methodists; 3,516 Lutherans (Reformed); 2,500 Jews; 2,425 members of the Church of Christ; 2,195 Catholic Mariavits; 1,299 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons); 915 members of the Church of Krishna Consciousness (Hare Krishnas); and 112 registered members of Muslim associations. These figures do not account for persons who adhere to a particular faith but do not maintain formal membership. Figures for Jews and Muslims in particular are significantly deflated as a result. Jewish and Muslim organizations estimate their actual numbers to be 30,000-40,000 and 25,000, respectively.<ref> See U.S. State Department "International Religious Freedom Report 2008"</ref>

The majority of asylum seekers are Muslims from Chechnya. In the refugee centers around the country, they organize their own mosques where they practice their religion.

Currently, there is a movement in Poland to completely ban abortion<ref>http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,262104,00.html</ref>, however there is an opposite movement to allow abortion to greater extent than it is now. Most political forces in the parliament are in favor of keeping abortion law as it is (allowing abortion when the women's life or health is threatened, when pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, when the fetus is irreversibly damaged). The attempts to change constitution so that it would be stated that life would be protected from the moment of conception to natural death failed.

Government and Political Conditions

The current government structure consists of a council of ministers led by a Prime Minister, typically chosen from the majority coalition in the bicameral legislature's lower house (Sejm). The president, elected every five years for no more than two terms, is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The judicial branch plays a minor role in decision-making.

The parliament consists of the 460-member Sejm and the 100-member Senat, or upper house. The new constitution and the reformed administrative division (as of 1999) required a revision of the election ordinance (passed in April 2001). The most important changes were liquidation of a national list (all deputies are elected by voters in electoral districts) and introduction of a new method of calculating seats (the modified St. Lague method replaced the d'Hondt method, thus eliminating the premium for the top parties). The law stipulated that with the exception of guaranteed seats for small ethnic parties, only parties receiving at least 5% of the total vote could enter parliament.

Parties represented in the newly elected (October 2011) Sejm are Civic Platform (PO), Law and Justice (PiS), Palikot's Movement (RP), Polish Peasant Party (PSL), Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), and the United Poland (SP) which was created after elections by former Law and Justice members. There is also one representative of the German Minority and some non-allied members of Parliament

Principal Government Officials

  • President–Bronisław Komorowski
  • Prime Minister–Donald Tusk (PO)
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration–Jerzy Miller (PO)
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy–Waldemar Pawlak (PSL)

<br> President of the Republic of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski.

Foreign Relations

Poland became an associate member of the EU and its defensive arm, the Western European Union, in 1994. In a June 2003 national referendum, the Polish people approved EU accession by an overwhelming margin, and Poland gained full membership on May 1, 2004.

Changes since 1989 have redrawn the map of central Europe, and Poland has had to forge relationships with seven new neighbors. Poland has actively pursued good relations, signing friendship treaties replacing links severed by the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. The Poles have forged special relationships with Lithuania and particularly Ukraine in an effort to firmly anchor these states to the West.

Defense

Poland became a full member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in March 1999 as part of the first wave of enlargement outlined at the July 1997 NATO Summit in Madrid. Poland's top national security goal is to further integrate with NATO and other west European defense, economic, and political institutions while modernizing and reorganizing its military. Polish military doctrine reflects the same defense posture as its Alliance partners.

Poland maintains a sizable armed force currently numbering about 140,572 troops divided among an army of 87,877, an air and defense force of 31,147, and a navy of 21,548. Poland relies on military conscription for the majority of its personnel strength. All males (with some exceptions) are subject to a 12-month term of military service. The Polish military continues to restructure and to modernize its equipment. The Polish Defense Ministry General Staff and the Land Forces staff have recently reorganized the latter into a NATO-compatible J/G-1 through J/G-6 structure. Although budget constraints remain a drag on modernization, Poland has been able to move forward with U.S. assistance on acquiring 48 F-16 multi-role fighters, C-130 cargo planes, HMMWVs, and other items key to the military’s restructuring.

Poland continues to be a regional leader in support and participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace Program and has actively engaged most of its neighbors and other regional actors to build stable foundations for future European security arrangements. Poland continues its long record of strong support for UN peacekeeping operations by maintaining a unit in Southern Lebanon, a battalion in NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR), and by providing and actually deploying the KFOR strategic reserve to Kosovo. Polish military forces have served in both Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Poland assumed command of a multinational division of stabilization forces in Iraq (MDN-CS) on September 3, 2003. Poland and its MND-CS partners have worked effectively since then to stabilize south central Iraq while working to train Iraqi forces to take over MND-CS responsibilities and operate independently. <ref>http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_orbat_coalition.htm</ref>

Economy

Since its reunification with the rest of the West, the Polish economy grew rapidly in the mid-1990s, slowed considerably in 2001 and 2002, returned again to healthy growth rates in 2003, then faltered during the worldwide recession of 2008. Poland’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annualized rate of 5.2% in the first quarter of 2006. Faster growth has begun to reduce persistently high unemployment, from nearly 20% in the middle of 2004 to 16.5% in May 2006. Tight monetary policy and dramatic productivity growth have helped to hold down inflation, which was 2.1% in 2005. Likewise, Poland's current account deficit, which grew rapidly in the late 1990s, has since moderated to 1.4% of GDP in 2005. The 2005 budget deficit was 27.5 billion zloty, or 2.8% of GDP in 2005, and the current government pledged to restrain the 2006 and 2007 budgets at 30 billion zloty.

Throughout the 1990s, the United States and other Western countries supported the growth of a free enterprise economy by reducing Poland's foreign debt burden, providing economic aid, and lowering trade barriers. Poland graduated from U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) assistance in 2000 and paid the balance of its U.S.-held Paris Club debt in 2005. Poland officially joined the European Union (EU) on May 1, 2004.

  • GDP (2006): $265.4 billion.
  • Real GDP growth (2006): 5.3%.
  • Per capita GDP (2006): $14,100.
  • Rate of inflation (2006): 1.3%.
  • Natural resources: Coal, copper, sulfur, natural gas, silver, lead, salt.
  • Agriculture: Products–grains, hogs, dairy, potatoes, horticulture, sugarbeets, oilseed.
  • Industry: Types–machine building, iron and steel, mining, shipbuilding, automobiles, furniture, textiles and apparel, chemicals, food processing, glass, beverages.
  • Trade (2006): Exports–$110.7 billion: furniture, cars, ships, coal, apparel. Imports–$113.2 billion: crude oil, passenger cars, pharmaceuticals, car parts, computers.

Agriculture

Agriculture employs 16.1% of the work force but contributes only 5% to the gross domestic product (GDP), reflecting relatively low productivity. Unlike the industrial sector, Poland's agricultural sector remained largely in private hands during the decades of communist rule. Most of the former state farms are now leased to farmer tenants. Lack of credit is hampering efforts to sell former state farmland. Currently, Poland's 2 million private farms occupy 90% of all farmland and account for roughly the same percentage of total agricultural production. These farms are small–8 hectares (ha) on average–and often fragmented. Farms with an area exceeding 15 ha accounted for only 9% of the total number of farms but cover 45% of total agricultural area. Over half of all farming households in Poland produce only for their own needs with little, if any, commercial sales.

Poland is a net exporter of confectionery, processed fruit and vegetables, meat, and dairy products. Processors often rely on imports to supplement domestic supplies of wheat, feed grains, vegetable oil, and protein meals, which are generally insufficient to meet domestic demand. However, Poland is the leading producer in Europe of potatoes and rye and is one of the world's largest producers of sugarbeets. Poland also is a significant producer of rapeseed, grains, hogs, and cattle. Attempts to increase domestic feed grain production are hampered by the short growing season, poor soil, and the small size of farms.

Pressure to restructure the agriculture sector intensified as Poland prepared to accede to the European Union, which is unwilling to subsidize the vast number of subsistence farms that do not produce for the market. The changes in agriculture are likely to strain Poland's social fabric, tearing at the heart of the traditional, family-based small farm as the younger generation drifts toward the cities. Nonetheless, dramatically increasing agricultural exports to the EU-15 (38% growth in 2005) and payments to farmers from Brussels following accession have enriched Polish commercial farmers and dramatically increase support for EU membership in Poland’s rural areas.

Industry

Before World War II, Poland's industrial base was concentrated in the coal, textile, chemical, machinery, iron, and steel sectors. Today it extends to fertilizers, petrochemicals, machine tools, electrical machinery, electronics, and shipbuilding.

Poland's industrial base suffered greatly during World War II, and many resources were directed toward reconstruction. The communist economic system imposed in the late 1940s created large and unwieldy economic structures operated under a tight central command. In part because of this systemic rigidity, the economy performed poorly even in comparison with other economies in central Europe.

In 1990, the Mazowiecki government began a comprehensive reform program to replace the centralized command economy with a market-oriented system. While the results overall have been impressive, many large state-owned industrial enterprises, particularly the railroad and the mining, steel, and defense sectors, have remained resistant to the change and downsizing required to survive in an open market economy.

Economic Reform Program and Direct Foreign Investment

The economic reforms introduced in 1990 removed price controls, eliminated most subsidies to industry, opened markets to international competition, and imposed strict budgetary and monetary discipline. Poland was the first former centrally planned economy in central Europe to end its recession and return to growth in the early 1990s. The private sector now accounts for over two-thirds of GDP.

In early 2002, the government announced a new set of economic reforms known as the Hausner Plan, designed in many ways to complete the process launched in 1990. The package acknowledged the need to improve Poland's investment climate, particularly the conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises, and better prepare the economy to compete as a European Union (EU) member. The government also aimed to improve Poland's public finances to prepare for eventual adoption of the euro. Though the government was able to enact only portions of the Hausner Plan, those successes coupled with successful monetary efforts to strengthen the zloty, have put Poland within reach of the National Bank’s goal of Euro accession in 2008-2009.

As a result of Poland's growth and investment-friendly climate, the country has received over $85 billion in direct foreign investment (DFI) since 1990, with roughly $7 billion in 2004 alone. According to a recently publish report by Ernst and Young, Poland is tied with Germany as the most attractive destination for foreign investment in Europe. The availability of cheap land and a large, relatively skilled labor force are among Polish strengths. However, the government continues to play a strong role in the economy, as seen in excessive red tape and the high level of politicization in many business decisions. Investors complain that state regulation is not transparent or predictable, and the economy suffers from a lack of competition in many sectors, notably telecommunications.

Foreign Trade

With the collapse of the ruble-based COMECON trading bloc in 1990, Poland scrambled to reorient its trade. As early as 1996, 70% of its trade was with EU-15 members, and neighboring Germany today is Poland's dominant trading partner. Most of Poland's imports are capital goods needed for industrial retooling and for manufacturing inputs, rather than imports for consumption. Therefore, a deficit is expected and should even be regarded as positive at this point. Poland, a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and European Union, applies the EU’s common external tariff to goods from other countries–including the U.S.

In the year after it joined the EU, Poland experienced an overall growth in exports of 30%. This growth was not confined to trade among EU partners: while exports to EU countries rose by 27%, exports to developing countries rose by 46%, and exports to Russia rose an unexpected 77%. Poland’s trade balance continued to improve, with export growth significantly outpacing import growth. Opportunities for trade and investment continue to exist across virtually all sectors. The American Chamber of Commerce in Poland, founded in 1991 with seven members, now has more than 300 members. Strong economic growth potential, a large domestic market, EU membership, and political stability are the top reasons U.S. and other foreign companies do business in Poland.

History

Poland's written history begins with the reign of Mieszko I, who accepted Christianity for himself and his kingdom in AD 966. The Polish state reached its zenith under the Jagiellonian dynasty in the years following the union with Lithuania in 1386 and the subsequent defeat of the Teutonic Knights at Grunwald in 1410. The Union of Lublin united the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on July 1, 1569, in Lublin, Poland which created a single state known as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Polish Commonwealth was at one point the largest country in Europe, covering much of what is today Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland. The Polish experienced their Golden Age during the 16th century. The monarchy survived many upheavals but eventually went into a decline, which ended with the final partition of Poland by Prussia, Russia, and Austria in 1795.

Independence for Poland was one of the 14 points enunciated by President Woodrow Wilson during World War I. Many Polish Americans enlisted in the military services to further this aim, and the United States worked at the postwar conference to ensure its implementation.

However, the Poles were largely responsible for achieving their own independence in 1918 and keeping it shortly thereafter against Red aggression from Bolshevik Russia. Authoritarian rule predominated for most of the period before World War II. In the years preceding the outbreak of the World War 2, German leader, Adolf Hitler, repeatedly requested an alliance with Poland. On August 23, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov nonaggression pact, which secretly provided for the dismemberment of Poland into Nazi and Soviet-controlled zones. On September 1, 1939, Hitler ordered his troops into Poland. On September 17, Soviet troops invaded and then occupied eastern Poland under the terms of this agreement. On October 6, all remaining Polish resistance inside Poland ceased and Poland fell to Soviet and German occupation.

The eastern half of Poland known as the Kresy, was annexed into the Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. After Germany terminated the Hitler-Stalin pact and invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Poland was completely occupied by German troops.

The Poles formed an underground resistance movement and a government in exile, first in Paris and later in London, which was recognized by the Western powers (the USA, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union). During World War II, 400,000 Poles fought in the Polish Peoples Army under Soviet command, whereas 200,000 served in the Polish Home Army in underground resistance in Poland, North Africa, Italy, and the Western front and remained loyal to the Free Polish government in exile.

After the German military announced that they had discovered mass graves of murdered Polish army officers at Katyn in April 1943, the Soviet Union broke relations with the Polish government in exile. The Soviets claimed that the Poles had insulted them by requesting that the Red Cross investigate these reports. In July 1944, the Soviet Red Army entered Poland and established a communist-controlled “Polish Committee of National Liberation” (PKWN) at Lublin.

Resistance against the Nazis in Warsaw, including uprisings by Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and by the Polish underground, was brutally suppressed. As the Germans retreated in January 1945, they leveled the city while Red Army units waited just outside.<ref>Solzhenitsyn writes: “in October, 1944, the Germans threw in Kaminsky's brigade—with its Moslem units—to suppress the Warsaw uprising. While one group of Russians sat traitorously dozing beyond the Vistula, watching the death of Warsaw through binoculars, other Russians crushed the uprising!” The Gulag Archipelago Three (1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation I-II, p. 257. ://ia700304.us.archive.org/BookReader/BookReaderImages.php?zip=/29/items/Gulag_Archipelago_I/Gulag_Archipelago_jp2.zip&file=Gulag_Archipelago_jp2/Gulag_Archipelago_0267.jp2&scale=6&rotate=0</ref>

During the war, about 6 million Poles were killed, and 2.5 million were deported to Germany for forced labor. More than 3 million Jews (all but about 100,000 of the Jewish population) were killed in death camps like those at Oswiecim (Auschwitz), Treblinka, and Majdanek.

Following the Yalta Conference in February 1945, a Polish Provisional Government of National Unity was formed in June 1945; the U.S. recognized it the next month. Although the Yalta agreement called for free elections, those held in January 1947 were controlled by the Communist Party. The communists then established a regime entirely under their domination.

Communist Party Domination

In 1945, Poland was forced to give up its eastern territories to the Soviet Union, in exchange for Germany's eastern territories of Pomerania and Silesia. Poland took over Germany's former eastern territories and its territories illegally seized by the Soviet Union, including the cities of Lvov and Vilnius were incorporated and annexed under an agreement by the Communist rulers of Poland and the Soviet Union. Poland ended up losing its eastern territories which comprised half of the country and a sizable portion of the population.

In October 1956, after the 20th (“de-Stalinization”) Soviet Party Congress in Moscow and riots by workers in Poznan, there was a shakeup in the communist regime. While retaining most traditional communist economic and social aims, the regime of First Secretary Wladyslaw Gomulka liberalized Polish internal life.

In 1968, the trend reversed when student demonstrations were suppressed and an “anti-Zionist” campaign initially directed against Gomulka supporters within the party eventually led to the emigration of much of Poland's remaining Jewish population. In December 1970, disturbances and strikes in the port cities of Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Szczecin, triggered by a price increase for essential consumer goods, reflected deep dissatisfaction with living and working conditions in the country. Edward Gierek replaced Gomulka as First Secretary.

Fueled by large infusions of Western credit, Poland's economic growth rate was one of the world's highest during the first half of the 1970s. But much of the borrowed capital was misspent, and the centrally planned economy was unable to use the new resources effectively. The growing debt burden became insupportable in the late 1970s, and economic growth had become negative by 1979.

In October 1978, the Bishop of Krakow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, became Pope John Paul II, head of the Roman Catholic Church. Polish Catholics rejoiced at the elevation of a Pole to the papacy and greeted his June 1979 visit to Poland with an outpouring of emotion.

In July 1980, with the Polish foreign debt at more than $20 billion, the government made another attempt to increase meat prices. A chain reaction of strikes virtually paralyzed the Baltic coast by the end of August and, for the first time, closed most coalmines in Silesia. Poland was entering into an extended crisis that would change the course of its future development.

The Solidarity Movement

On August 31, 1980, workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, led by an electrician named Lech Walesa, signed a 21-point agreement with the government that ended their strike. Similar agreements were signed at Szczecin and in Silesia. The key provision of these agreements was the guarantee of the workers' right to form independent trade unions and the right to strike. After the Gdańsk agreement was signed, a new national union movement–“Solidarity”–swept Poland.

The discontent underlying the strikes was intensified by revelations of widespread corruption and mismanagement within the Polish state and party leadership. In September 1980, Gierek was replaced by Stanislaw Kania as First Secretary.

Alarmed by the rapid deterioration of the PZPR's authority following the Gdańsk agreement, the Soviet Union proceeded with a massive military buildup along Poland's border in December 1980. In February 1981, Defense Minister Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski assumed the position of Prime Minister as well, and in October 1981, he also was named party First Secretary. At the first Solidarity national congress in September-October 1981, Lech Walesa was elected national chairman of the union.

On December 12-13, the regime declared martial law, under which the army and special riot police were used to crush the union. Virtually all Solidarity leaders and many affiliated intellectuals were arrested or detained. The United States and other Western countries responded to martial law by imposing economic sanctions against the Polish regime and against the Soviet Union. Unrest in Poland continued for several years thereafter.

In a series of slow, uneven steps, the Polish regime rescinded martial law. In December 1982, martial law was suspended, and a small number of political prisoners were released. Although martial law formally ended in July 1983 and a general amnesty was enacted, several hundred political prisoners remained in jail.

In July 1984, another general amnesty was declared, and 2 years later, the government had released nearly all political prisoners. The authorities continued, however, to harass dissidents and Solidarity activists. Solidarity remained proscribed and its publications banned. Independent publications were censored.

Roundtable Talks and Elections

The government's inability to forestall Poland's economic decline led to waves of strikes across the country in April, May, and August 1988. In an attempt to take control of the situation, the government gave de facto recognition to Solidarity, and Interior Minister Kiszczak began talks with Lech Walesa on August 31. These talks broke off in October, but a new series, the “roundtable” talks, began in February 1989. These talks produced an agreement in April for partly open National Assembly elections. The June election produced a Sejm (lower house), in which one-third of the seats went to communists and one-third went to the two parties which had hitherto been their coalition partners. The remaining one-third of the seats in the Sejm and all those in the Senat were freely contested; virtually all of these were won by candidates supported by Solidarity.

The failure of the communists at the polls produced a political crisis. The roundtable agreement called for a communist president, and on July 19, the National Assembly, with the support of some Solidarity deputies, elected General Jaruzelski to that office. Two attempts by the communists to form governments failed, however.

On August 19, President Jaruzelski asked journalist/Solidarity activist Tadeusz Mazowiecki to form a government; on September 12, the Sejm voted approval of Prime Minister Mazowiecki and his cabinet. For the first time in more than 40 years, Poland had a government led by non-communists.

In December 1989, the Sejm approved the government's reform program to transform the Polish economy rapidly from centrally planned to free-market, amended the constitution to eliminate references to the “leading role” of the Communist Party, and renamed the country the “Republic of Poland.” The Polish United Workers' (Communist) Party dissolved itself in January 1990, creating in its place a new party, Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland. Most of the property of the former Communist Party was turned over to the state.

The May 1990 local elections were entirely free. Candidates supported by Solidarity's Citizens' Committees won most of the races they contested, although voter turnout was only a little over 40%. The cabinet was reshuffled in July 1990; the national defense and interior affairs ministers–holdovers from the previous communist government–were among those replaced.

In October 1990, the constitution was amended to curtail the term of President Jaruzelski. In December, Lech Walesa became the first popularly elected President of Poland.

The Republic of Poland

The Republic of Poland in the early 1990s made great progress toward achieving a fully democratic government and a market economy. In November 1990, Lech Walesa was elected President for a 5-year term. Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, at Walesa's request, formed a government and served as its Prime Minister until October 1991, introducing world prices and greatly expanding the scope of private enterprise.

Poland's first free parliamentary elections were held in 1991. More than 100 parties participated, representing a full spectrum of political views. No single party received more than 13% of the total vote.

Since 1991, Poland has conducted five general parliamentary elections and four presidential elections–all free and fair. Incumbent governments have transferred power smoothly and constitutionally in every instance to their successors. The post-Solidarity center-right and post-Communist center-left have each controlled the parliament and the presidency since 1991. Most recently, Poles elected Law and Justice (PiS) candidate and Mayor of Warsaw Lech Kaczynski to a 5-year term as President. Kaczynski narrowly defeated Civic Platform (PO) candidate Donald Tusk and was sworn in December 23, 2005.

PiS was also the top vote-getter in September 25, 2005, parliamentary elections. After coalition talks with runner-up PO collapsed, PiS alone formed a minority government under Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. Frustrated by its inability to achieve its legislative program alone, PiS formed a formal coalition government with Self-Defense (SO) and the League of Polish Families (LPR) in April 2006. In July 2006, Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz resigned and was replaced by PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski as Prime Minister.

See also

Further reading

  • Library of Congress. A Country Study: Poland (1993), highly detailed factual report by U.S. government (it is in the public domain, with no copyright) online edition
  • Poland (Eyewitness Travel Guides by DK Publishing) (2007)
  • Lonely Planet Poland by Tom Parkinson, et al. (2005) online excerpt and search from Amazon.com
  • Biskupski, M. B. The History of Poland. Greenwood, 2000. 264 pp. online edition
  • Davies, Norman. Heart of Europe: A Short History of Poland. Oxford University Press, 1984. 511 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Podgórecki, Adam. Polish Society Praeger, 1994 online edition
  • Turnock, David. The Human Geography of East Central Europe. Routledge. 2002. online edition

References

The European Union (EU) is an experiment in globalism, combining very different cultures and nations into one legal, political and economic union of 28 European countries. It was formed in 1993 with the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, though its predecessor, the European Economic Community, was founded in 1957. It is not the same as “Europe”, though most European nations have joined the EU.

As a set of institutions, the EU has more powers over its member states and their citizens than other international bodies; many of its competencies are supranational (above the member states) rather than intergovernmental (between them). Despite having a legal personality and sovereignty in agreed areas, it is not regarded as a federation or state in its own right: rather, it stands somewhere between these two points. Fifteen member states use a common currency, the euro<ref>Five other states formally agree to use it, and four others use it without formal agreement.</ref>.

There is no EU military. Each nation has its own forces, but nearly all are members of NATO, in which the U.S. has a preponderant voice.

The EU is a driving force of global economic and political integration, but Hix (2008) sees three problems with the EU: policy gridlock, lack of popular legitimacy and the democratic deficit. He notes, “In substantive terms … the EU is closer to a form of enlightened despotism than a genuine democracy.”<ref> Hix (2008) </ref>

Politics

Each nation elects members to the Parliament in proportion to population. The June 2009 elections saw sweeping gains by conservative and anti-immigration parties, as labor and socialist parties lost heavily. Since the 2004 elections the largest grouping has for the last five years been the centre-right European People's Party EPP (288 seats out of a current 785), followed by the centre-left PES (216) and the liberal ALDE (100). With the 2009 election EPP made gains and retains power in the parliament.

Conservative Jose Manuel Barroso, who will have a second term as European Commission president, thanked voters and assured them their voices would be heard.

In 2009 The British Labour Party, Germany's SPD (Social Democrats) and France's Socialist Party suffered historic defeats–the worst defeat for Labour in Britain in a century..

Turnout was at an all-time low in some countries, including France (41%) and Germany (42%).

Structure

The European Commission

In September 2009 Jose Manuel Barroso, was re-elected as president of the European Commission after the European Parliament voted to give him a second term. This ended weeks of uncertainty during which Socialist, Green and Liberal critics tried to block Mr Barroso's candidacy on the grounds that he had yielded too much power to national governments and promoted the kind of free-market liberalism that led to the financial crisis.

The role and responsibilities of the European Commission place it at the centre of the EU's decision-making process. Acting as the EU's policy and executive engine, the Commission is composed of 28 Commissioners, one from each state, and is supported by a substantial staff located primarily in Brussels, Belgium. In matters relating to economic integration (“First or 'Community' Pillar”), only the Commission has the right to propose legislation for approval by the EU Council and European Parliament. As “guardian of the Treaties,” the Commission ensures that EU laws are applied and upheld throughout the EU, prosecuting member states and other institutions for failing to follow treaty precepts or otherwise apply Community law. The Commission has full authority to enforce Community competition policy, and its policing of implementation of Community legislation preserves the integrity of the EU single market. The Commission likewise manages and develops the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), implements the budget, and represents the European Community in its areas of competence, notably including international trade negotiations.

The Commission President is appointed by agreement of the EU heads of government and is subject to approval by the European Parliament. Commissioners serve for a renewable five-year term. New Commissioners are identified by member state governments in consultation with the President-designate of the Commission and are normally put in place at the beginning of the term of the Commission President. The entire Commission must be confirmed as a collective whole by the European Parliament before its formal appointment by common accord of EU governments.

The European Council

The European Council brings together EU heads of government and the President of the European Commission; foreign ministers of member states also participate. Finance ministers are normally included when the leaders discuss questions related to the euro and the economy. The European Council meets at least twice a year, usually quarterly, at the end of each Presidency, to review major EU projects, set guidelines for policies and provide necessary guidance. The Presidency of the Council rotates every six months among EU member states (January&ndash;June; July&ndash;December). Its role has become increasingly important with the expansion of EU responsibilities and competencies. The Presidency organises and presides over the meetings of the European Council and EU Council (ministerial) meetings, drafts compromises, and seeks solutions to problems submitted to the European Council.

Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers of the European Union (the “EU Council”) is the body in which representatives of the individual member state governments, usually ministers, legislate for the EU, set its political objectives, coordinate national policies and resolve differences among their governments and with other EU bodies. Legally speaking, there is only one Council, but it meets in nine different formations, depending on the matters on its agenda. Foreign ministers usually meet at least once a month in the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), which deals with major foreign policy issues and plays a coordinating role. Ministers for the Economy and Finance (ECOFIN) and ministers responsible for agriculture also hold monthly meetings. Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) hold regular meetings to coordinate policies within their competence.

The Council holds formal sessions in its Brussels headquarters, except in April, June and October, when all sessions take place in Luxembourg. Most formations of the Council also meet informally (tasking no legally binding decisions) in the country holding the EU Presidency, usually once in the course of the Presidency's six-month term. The most prominent of these informal meetings is the so-called “Gymnich” meeting of foreign ministers, named for a town in Germany where the first such meeting took place.

The Council takes most decisions under the Community Pillar by qualified majority voting (QMV) but endeavours to reach the broadest possible consensus before approving legislation. Unanimity is required for a number of specific areas related to economic integration (e.g. taxation), constitutional matters such as amendments to the treaties, the launching of a new common policy, the accession of a new member state, and matters falling within the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, European Security and Defence Policy, and aspects of law enforcement and judicial cooperation. The number of votes cast by each member state when the EU Council votes by qualified majority voting was determined by the Nice Treaty and roughly correlates to the size of its population.

The [[European Parliament]]

The European Parliament is the largest trans-national parliament in the world, and the second-largest overall (behind India), with an electorate of almost half a billion. Members of the Parliament are directly elected by all EU citizens for five-year terms; elections follow national election procedures, except they have to be a form of proportional representation. Members do not sit in national delegations; rather, they sit in groups according to political affiliation (including Socialists, Christian Democrats/Conservatives, Liberals, Greens, et cetera).

Parliament's powers have gradually grown with the entry into force of the Single European Act (1986), the Maastricht Treaty (1993) and the Treaty of Amsterdam (1999). Parliament shares decision-making power on an equal footing with the Council in many areas under the Community Pillar to which the “co-decision procedure” applies. The European Parliament is one of the two branches with budgetary authority &ndash; the Council is the other. The signature of the EP president brings the overall EU budget into effect.

The European Parliament also plays a role in the process of selecting the President and other members of the Commission. The European Council's nomination of the President is subject to approval by the Parliament. The EP holds U.S.-style public hearings of Commission nominees before taking a formal vote to approve the nomination of the Commission as a body. Parliament has the power to censure the entire Commission, but not to dismiss individual Commissioners.

The European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ensures uniform interpretation and application of both the Treaties establishing the European Communities and the secondary legislation and other law adopted under their authority. To enable it to carry out that task, the Court has wide jurisdiction to hear various types of cases. For example, the Court has the authority to hear and issue binding judgements in lawsuits that seek to annul a law adopted by the EU, to compel an EU institution to act, or to require that a member state comply with EU law. The ECJ may issue clarifications of EU law (in response to a request for a preliminary ruling from any member state court) and hears appeals on legal questions arising out of cases at the Court of First Instance. The ECJ currently has 28 justices and eight advocates-general, who are appointed by common accord of the governments of the member states and who hold office for six-year renewable terms.

Sovereignty

The member states of the European Union fall under the jurisdiction of the Union's legislative and judicial institutions (the Court of Justice, the Commission, the Council and the Parliament) in those competences that they have conferred to the Union (the principle of subsidiarity). Similar to Federal Law trumping State Law in United States politics, EU member states are obliged to follow the laws set forth by the European Court of Justice, even if their national laws are contradictory. This system of government pools sovereignty in those agreed areas from the nation, and rests it in the EU institutions. Some political theorists argue that the EU is thus the death of the nation, as by the Treaty of Westphalia, nations are defined by their right of self-sovereignty; however, each member state has a legal right to cede from the EU, which non-sovereign components of states do not.

Economy

See also: Eurozone Crisis

The institutions of the European Union were originally created to oversee the operation of the several economic communities that later became the Single European Market. Even as the EU's political integration has continued, the area of greatest integration has always been in the economic sphere: goods, capital, and labour move freely between member states (with exceptions for goods which pose a public health risk), businesses in all member states are increasingly subject to common basic rules, and fifteen of the 28 member states use a common currency, the euro. The rest of the states are legally obliged to adopt the euro when their economies meet strict Convergence Criteria. The fifteen euro-area countries share a common monetary policy administered by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. The EU strives to eliminate internal barriers to the free flow of goods, services, labour, and capital, and to promote the overall convergence of living standards. Internationally, the EU aims to strengthen Europe's trade position and capitalise on the political and economic leverage that a large, unified market brings.

Growth

The EU is the world's largest economic area (the U.S. is second) with a 2007 GDP of $16.6 trillion. Growth in many member states has been slow; between 2001 and 2003, the overall growth rate dropped from 1.8 percent to 1.0 percent, then recovered in 2004 to 2.4%, fell to 1.8 percent in 2005, then rose to 2.8% in 2006 and 2.4% in 2007. Within the euro area, growth varies as much as 4.5 percentage points between the fastest and slowest-growing economies: in 2005, the economies of Germany, France and Italy, grew by less than two percent. Growth remains strong in the new Central European member states with rapidly industrialising economies.

In spring 2000, the EU committed to a ten-year strategic goal of transforming the EU into a more competitive, knowledge-based economy capable of sustaining higher levels of growth. Focusing on labour market reform, macroeconomic and fiscal policy, and promotion of e-commerce and entrepreneurship, the EU's “Lisbon Agenda” was an attempt to stimulate growth while remaining committed to the EU social model. Some suggest that it has so far failed to achieve its goals in large part because national governments (which retain authority over employment policy, immigration, large public sector workforces, entitlement programs and pensions) have not completed the necessary reforms, with unemployment at 6.9 percent in 2007. The European Commission re-launched the Lisbon Agenda in March 2005, promising three percent growth and six million new jobs by 2010. The revamped strategy focuses on developing political consensus within member states to make the changes necessary to complete elimination of barriers in the internal market, reduce the regulatory burden on business, improve labour market flexibility, provide incentives to work and increase investment in human capital.

Fiscal and Monetary Policy

Introduced in 1999, the euro is currently the official currency of fifteen of the 28 EU member states. The United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden chose to retain their national currencies, and some of the newer EU members have yet to meet the strict economic conditions required to adopt the euro. Prior to the euro's launch in 1999, national currency exchange rates of countries intending to join the euro were fixed within an Exchange Rate Mechanism. Following the January 2002 introduction of euro notes and coins into general circulation, national currencies were removed from circulation. Each of the euro area countries agreed to abide by a shared fiscal policy rule book known as the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). This agreement generally obliges national governments to limit government budget deficits to 3 percent of GDP and established a target debt-to-GDP ratio of below sixty percent. Although enforcement actions have been forgiving – France and Germany, for example, avoided sanctions despite missing SGP targets – countries violating the SGP are technically subject to sanctions by the European Commission. As of March 2005, national governments have been granted budget leeway to achieve structural reforms and to combat prolonged stagnation, negative growth or other factors, such as the cost of German reunification or state pensions. The revised standards still require deficits to remain close to the targets; they may only temporarily exceed the three percent limit.

The euro area's monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank (ECB), which must devise a monetary policy to accommodate a wide range of domestic policies and economic conditions within the euro area. The Treaties require that the ECB's primary objective be to maintain price stability (i.e., to keep inflation low). Euro area national governments have sometimes criticised the ECB for guarding against inflation at the expense of interest rate flexibility that could enable struggling economies to gain traction. The ECB's consistent overnight interest rate of two percent has been credited with creating favourable conditions for growth in Spain and Ireland, but has been blamed for hindering growth in France, Germany, Italy, and Portugal. Non-EU countries have also adopted the euro, including Andorra, United Kingdom base areas, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, and the Vatican City. Additionally, several countries have currencies pegged to the euro, including French African states and those in the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

Trade

The EU is the world's largest exporter of goods and services. In 2003, the then fifteen EU members exported $987 billion worth of goods to non-EU countries. The EU's exports grew rapidly between 1996 and 2000 but have grown more slowly since. Except for 2002, the EU as a whole has posted a trade deficit every year since 1999; it was $62 billion in 2004. The EU is a major exporter of chemicals, transport equipment, and industrial machinery. The EU has large trade deficits in raw materials and energy, and a small deficit in food and drink.

The U.S. is the EU's main trading partner by a wide margin. U.S. goods and services exports to the EU reached $283 billion in 2004, while U.S. goods and services imports from the EU totalled $388 billion. Asian economies such as Japan and China, however, account for an increasingly important share of EU trade. The EU's two-way merchandise trade with China grew to $223 million in 2004, while merchandise trade with Japan was $149 million. Internal trade between euro area and non-euro area countries was down one percent in the first quarter of 2005, but the EU's external trade was up four percent, particularly with Russia and Norway.

Member states have given almost exclusive authority to the EU to negotiate binding international trade treaties. The European Community (EC) is a full member of the World Trade Organisation and plays an active role in the Doha Development Round to foster international trade in services and agricultural products. Bilaterally, the EC maintains framework agreements to facilitate trade flows with thirty-five countries worldwide, mostly elsewhere in Europe, in North Africa, and in the Middle East.

Foreign Direct Investment

The EU is both a major destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) and a major source of FDI. U.S. foreign direct investment in the EU totalled $83.3 billion in 2004; EU FDI into the U.S. totalled $46.6 billion. Following strong year-upon-year growth in the late 1990s, however, inward and outward flows of FDI have contracted since 2001. The EU is a net recipient of FDI from Japan, receiving $81 billion in 2003. Conversely, the EU is a net investor in Canada ($86 billion in outward investment in 2003), and China ($29 billion in outward investment in 2003). Growth of intra-EU FDI has increased rapidly in recent years and has increased much faster than FDI in non-EU countries.

The pattern of foreign investment by European firms reflects deep commercial ties with the United States. U.S. and EU businesses invest heavily and operate profitably on both sides of the Atlantic. U.S. affiliates in Europe accounted for 56 percent of the aggregate output of U.S. affiliates worldwide. European firms were the largest foreign investors in 44 U.S. states and the second largest foreign investor in the remaining six. Sales by U.S. affiliates in Europe totalled $1.5 trillion in 2002, more than double those of U.S. affiliates in the Asia/Pacific region. European affiliate sales in the U.S. were $1.2 trillion in 2002, more than three times the value of U.S. imports from Europe.

Intra-firm trade involving foreign affiliates is particularly important to the transatlantic trade and investment relationship. Approximately 58 percent of U.S. imports from the EU in 2004 involved trade between related parties, as did 30 percent of U.S. exports to Europe in 2003. This high level of intra-firm trade has contributed to the persistence of the U.S. trade deficit with Europe even as the dollar has lost value against the euro since 2002.

Budget

The EU's budget is composed of member state contributions. Equivalent to roughly one percent of the member states' combined gross national income (GNI), it was $123 billion in 2005. The UK receives a rebate for some of its contribution, as the CAP benefits the UK less than other states. In June 2005, the EU failed to agree on a budget plan for 2007 through 2013, due in part to a disagreement between the UK and France over the persistence of the UK budget rebate and the funding of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Costs attributable to the CAP constitute the EU's largest annual budget item, benefiting farmers across the EU, especially in France. Payments to net-recipient member states, designed to reduce economic and social disparities among EU countries and regions, are another budget item which has become more contentious with the accession of ten new states poorer than the EU average.

Criticism

A significant number of Europeans on the political right of centre are opposed to the EU on the grounds that it undermines national sovereignty and identity. The term “eurosceptic” has risen in popularity in Britan to describe these people, and among them are such members as the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (although, while in power, she committed Britain to the 1986 Single European Act, a major integrationist measure). They also, however, include less well-respected politicians belonging to far right or nationalist parties, such as France's Jean-Marie Le Pen. There are also extreme left-wing opponents of the European Union, such as Die Linke in Germany, who regard it as constituting an anti-progressive “Fortress Europe”, and claim that EU membership impedes countries from following socialist policies.

Anti-Israel

In 2013 the European Union forced their 28 members not to cooperate with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.<ref>http://frontpagemag.com/2013/noah-beck/the-eus-broken-mideast-compass/</ref>

History

Following World War II, traditional European rivals sought to solidify peace by bringing their nations together under a common institutional structure. Influenced by his compatriot Jean Monnet, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman officially tabled a plan on May 9, 1950 to pool French and German coal and steel production under an organisation that would be open to other European countries. German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer supported this proposal, and six founding countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – took an early step toward European integration by establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951.

After failing to establish a European Defence Community in the 1950s, the six countries then decided to set up a common market. With the entry into force of the 'Treaty of Rome in 1957, they created the European Economic Community (EEC), with an objective of liberating the movement of goods, capital, workers and services. (The European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) was also established at this time.) The Treaty of Rome established the basic institutions and decision-making mechanisms still in place in today's European Union. in 1968, the EEC abolished customs duties between member states on manufactured goods. New policies, including a common agricultural policy (CAP) and a common trade policy, were in place by the end of the 1960s.

The success of the European integration project during a period of steady economic growth in the 1960s set the stage for a first enlargement &ndash; the accession of Britain, Ireland and Denmark &ndash; in 1973. Further “deepening” of European integration followed: the Community acquired executive authority in social, regional, and environment policies. The benefits of economic convergence became more evident in the context of the 1970s energy crisis and financial turmoil, which led to the launch of the European Monetary System in 1979. In the same year, the first direct elections to the European Parliament (EP) took place. Previously, delegates from national parliaments had represented their country's legislative bodies at the EP in Strasbourg, France.

The Community further expanded southward with the accession of Greece (1981, the second enlargement), followed by Spain and Portugal (1986, the third enlargement). These accessions led the EEC to adopt “structural programs” in order to reduce economic and social disparities among its regions.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Community began to assert itself on the international scene with the conclusion of agreements with southern Mediterranean countries. Starting in 1963, the EEC signed four successive Lome Conventions, which guaranteed trading advantages and development aid for member states' former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific (ACP).

World recession and internal disputes over member states' financial burdens gave way, from 1985 onward, to renewed efforts for economic integration, enshrined in the 1985 “Single European Act” (SEA) and marked by the 1992 “Single Market Project.” The SEA set January 1, 1993 as the date by which an internal single market was to be established and, by extending the practice of majority voting rather than unanimity in the EU Council, gave Community institutions the means of adopting the 300 Community-wide Directives required to abolish the remaining barriers and obstacles to intra-Community trade. In 1995, the Community entered into the “Barcelona” partnership with twelve southern Mediterranean countries. The partnership, reinforced by agreements on social, cultural, and human cooperation, was intended to lead to a free-trade area.

The collapse of the Berlin Wall and German unification prompted member states to negotiate the 1992 Treaty on European Union (the “Maastricht Treaty”). In addition to establishing the European Union, the Maastricht Treaty set an ambitious program of further integration: establishment of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) by 1999 (part of the “First or 'Community' Pillar”), setting up of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) (“Second Pillar”); and cooperation on Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) (“Third Pillar”). Shortly thereafter, in 1995, Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the EU &ndash; the fourth enlargement.

Signed in 1997 and entering into force on May 1, 1999, the Amsterdam Treaty partially streamlined the EU institutional structure. Its most significant effects were: (1) to transfer aspects of Justice and Home Affairs policy to the Community Pillar, enabling the Commission to propose decisions to be taken by the EU Council by qualified majority voting instead of by consensus, and (2) to establish a High Representative for the CFSP (who also serves as Secretary-General of the Council Secretariat). Ten countries in Central Europe and Cyprus began accession procedures in 1997, followed by Malta. The prospect of eastward enlargement raised significant resource concerns and prompted the adoption in March 1999 of the “Agenda 2000” package, which covered amendments to the CAP and EU structural policies, as well as a budgetary framework through 2006.

In May 1998, EU heads of government officially designated eleven member states eligible to adopt a single currency. Britain and Denmark “opted out.” On January 1, 1999, the euro became the official currency of the EU, and the European Central Bank (ECB) put euro notes and coins into circulation in 2002. Today, fifteen countries use the euro: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.

Streamlining the size and procedures of EU institutions to make the expanded EU more efficient was also an aim of the 2003 Treaty of Nice.

Expansion

In 2004, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined the EU, and in 2007 Bulgaria and Romania acceded, bringing total membership to 28. Candidate countries currently include Turkey, FYR Macedonia and Montenegro, Serbia, and potential candidates include the rest of the Western Balkan states.

In October 2004, member states signed an EU Constitutional Treaty designed to replace all previous treaties. French and Dutch voters rejected the treaty through referendums in 2005, thereby suspending the ratification process. In 2007, a modified Treaty of Lisbon was agreed upon, which retains most of the reforms of the Constitution, but amends rather than replaces previous treaties.

At the late 2009 the European sovereign-debt crisis started. Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, Spain and Italy are most affected.

Candidates for membership

There are three official candidates being considered for membership, Turkey, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia. The western Balkan states of Kosovo, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Albania are officially potential candidates. A country that is expected to accede is required to make some economic, social and governmental changes to bring it in line with other member states.

The status of Turkey is highly controversial. It has repeatedly applied to join the EU but has been rejected each time on numerous grounds. Despite being one of the first countries to join the post-war Council of Europe and being a key regional power with a strong military Turkey has a long list of obstacles to overcome before accession. Many nations have cited its poor relations with other countries such as Cyprus, as well as its views on the rights of women and the Turkish Penal Code which includes the notorious Article 301. Article 301 is a recent piece of legislation that provides that “a person who publicly insults the Turkish nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years”. Turkey's population of 70 million would make it one of the largest states in the EU with the second-highest amount of MEPs, and would be the first Muslim-majority state in Europe. Britain supports admission while France is strongly against Turkey's membership.

Gateway to the European Union (EU official website) <ref>http://europa.eu/</ref>

Member states

References

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Further reading

  • Cini, Michelle, and Nieves Perez-Solorzano Borragan, eds. European Union Politics (2009)
  • Craig, Paul and Gráinne de Búrca. EU Law, Text, Cases and Materials (4th ed. 2007)
  • Dinan, Desmond. Europe Recast: A History of European Union' '(2004).
  • Hix, Simon. What's Wrong with the Europe Union and How to Fix It (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Kaiser, Wolfram. Christian Democracy and the Origins of European Union (2007)
  • Peterson, John, and Michael Shackleton eds. The Institutions of the European Union (2nd ed. 2006)
  • McCormick, John. The European Union: Politics and Policies (2007)
  • Pinder, John, and Simon Usherwood. The European Union: A Very Short Introduction (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Podmore, Will & Nicholls, Doug (2006), The EU: bad for Britain - a trade union view. Bread Books, ISBN 0-942112-5-1.
  • Staab, Andreas. The European Union Explained: Institutions, Actors, Global Impact (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Yesilada, Birol A. and David M. Wood. The Emerging European Union (5th ed. 2009)

European Politics European History

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