News Foreign policy Ministry Travel to Poland
29 April 2014
Poland has evolved from a country that tended to view the Union through the prism of national interests into a country that is increasingly assuming responsibility for the European project. Poland’s international prestige has increased, the country has become part of the EU decision-making centre, we are respected by other Member States, and enjoy the reputation of a predictable and responsible partner that effectively pursues its interests in Brussels.
The EU membership has boosted our economy. Poland’s fundamental social and economic indicators have greatly improved over the decade. Although some issues did not end in full success, Poland’s 10 years of EU membership have been a good time on balance.
The analysis of Poland’s presence in the EU shows that we have skilfully used the membership to pursue strategic national interests. For example, despite major cuts to the multiannual budget Poland negotiated an even bigger allocation of funds. Our country has learned how to impact and shape “the EU world” in line with Polish needs and interests.
We have been endorsing the idea of an internal market, well knowing that the EU market is Europe’s growth engine, and the Polish economy stands to gain most from it. We have taken active part in key EU debates, putting forward initiatives and taking on responsibility for the direction of EU development. A good example is the eurozone reform debate, which we joined on the assumption that one day we will be part of this project.
We have entered the European game in terms of both the positive and negative agendas. On the one hand, Poland has been successfully investing in the EU energy policy to enhance our energy security. This ongoing process has assumed a geostrategic perspective following the Ukraine crisis and the European response of an energy union. On the other hand, we convinced the European Commission to drop bills that were running counter to our interests (e.g. on shale gas).
The EU membership has had a big impact on the country’s social and economic development. Of all the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007, Poland has made the best use of membership opportunities. We have become a leader of economic growth, performing best not only in the region but also in the EU as a whole during the economic crisis; our GDP has increased by a half (48.8%) since we joined the EU.
With the economy growing faster than in other countries, Poland has reached two-thirds of the EU’s average economic development. Unemployment and poverty have markedly declined. The financial injection of EU funds has boosted investment expenditures, fostered deep structural change, and accelerated the country’s modernization.
We have taken full advantage of the EU internal market, improving our trade balance with Member States. Moreover, Poland has moved up in competitiveness rankings and international ratings of financial credibility.
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