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Euroscepticism in Poland

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Fluctuations of the level of euroscepticism: Short history of polish euroscepticism.
    1. Three phases in the fluctuations of the level of Polish euroscepticism.
    2. Two important events: the 2001 parliamentary elections and the 2003 referendum on EU membership.
  3. What is Polish euroscepticism?
    1. The relevance of the utilitarian approach to study Polish euroscepticism.
    2. A strong national identity: Importance of the sovereignty-based dimension of Polish euroscepticism.
    3. Ideology and values: Crucial part in Polish euroscepticism.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Tables.
  6. Annexes.

Since the collapse of its communist regime in 1989-1990, Poland aimed at joining the European Economic Community/European Union (EU). In 1991, the Association Agreement was signed by the country and the international organization. Poland officially applied for membership in June 1994. The negotiations for accessions began in March 1998. Poles accepted that their country integrated the EU by referendum in June 2003. Finally, Poland became a full member of the continental institutions on the 1st May 2004. With its forty millions of inhabitants, Poland was the biggest of the ten countries which joined the Union in its latest enlargement. After the collapse of communism, an overwhelming majority of Poles agreed with the idea of joining the EU. However, as in every applicant countries, the level of popular support for EU membership decreased when the negotiations started, since the concessions and harmful reforms were then discussed by officials and criticized by citizens. Nowhere had the decline of public support been more dramatic than in Poland.

[...] Linked to a strong national identity, the sovereignty-based dimension of Polish euroscepticism is important In the late 1990s, the concern over the loss of sovereignty due to the future EU membership was more important in Poland than in the other applicant countries. This is not surprising since national pride is very developed in this country of the Polish respondents to a 2002 Eurobarometer declared that they were at least ?quiet proud? of their nationality. This statistic is much more important than those of the other candidate countries. [...]

[...] First of all, the rejection of capitalist and democratic values is the only explanation I found in the literature that accounts for the higher level of Polish euroscepticism within the female population than within the male one. Indeed, in nearly every survey, women are more likely to oppose EU membership than men (cf Annex 3). Moreover, the correlation between the level of income and the rejection of capitalist and democratic values is important: the less you earn, the less you support democratic and capitalist values. [...]

[...] However, the level of hard euroscepticism in Poland can be considered as low, since only of the population voted against EU membership. Of course, this figure do not represent all the hard eurosceptics in this country, but those who chose not to vote might not be numerous enough to consider that hard euroscepticism is more than in Poland. After having introduced Polish euroscepticism by the evolution of its level, the modifications it created within the political spectrum and the impact it had on the main votes, it seems relevant to seek to analyse this phenomenon in itself. [...]

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