Saturday, April 29, 2017
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EU Disadvantages: Polish Agriculture and European Union

There are many people who are against Poland's joining EU. They are called Euro-skeptics. Euro-skeptics are of course not only in Poland but also in many other countries-candidates. In Poland Euro-skeptics are rather a minority, but an important one. Their voice is heard through many mass media. The most important mass media of Euro-skeptics are probably "Radio Maryja", "Nasz Dziennik" and "Gazeta Polska". Recently the biggest organized political party which is openly against EU is so called Self-defence - a farmer party, in Polish Samoobrona led by Andrzej Leppert.

The opposition in Poland is probably average as compared to some other countries. According to Euro-barometer published by EU countries which are the most supportive towards EU are: Romania (78%), Bulgaria (68%), Hungary (67%) and Turkey (65%). It is interesting that three of these countries (Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey) are still far from being the EU members (during a time of Copenhagen Meeting, December 2002). It means that the prospects of joining EU sound very good before a country is ready to negotiate the conditions but... during the negotiations a public opinion realize that joining EU will not only have benefits but it can bring also sacrifices for the new member-countries. The most critical towards EU membership were Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia and recently also Malta. Less than half of the people were fully accepting the membership.

These countries are among the new ten candidates accepted in Copenhagen. The way to membership is still long, the congresses and people of these countries need to accept the deal. Update(September 2003): All the countries-candidates voted through referendums to join the European Union. Of the 10 candidate states, only Cyprus has decided not to hold a vote on membership and will leave it up to legislators.

Bellow are the arguments of Polish Euro-Sceptics:

Polish agriculture: less subsidies, production limits, preference towards large scale farming

The biggest problem for negotiations was Polish agriculture. Poland and other new member-countries will be receiving much less money for subsidies than the countries which joined EU earlier. For the first 5-10 years it will be only a fraction of what the other members receive. The way how the money is calculated base of the yield of crops, mechanization and modernization and also the size of the farms. The larger the farm, the more it will be favored. All these factors place Poland in less privileged position. Moreover, there will be limits for a production of dairy products, wheat etc. so that Polish farmers will have to limit their production.

Empty promises of big money out of reach

There are promises of millions of dollars potentially available for Poland and other countries. But these money from so called structural funds are difficult to obtain. The new countries-candidates do not have sufficient administrative structure who would educate the farmers and regional administration what are the requirements to apply and receive these money. So, these money looks good but only on the paper because they will be unreachable.

Some regional products may disappear

Some of our regional Polish products which have been known for ages may be prohibited is and its production procedures are not in agreement with EU norms. For instance Polish mountain sheep cheese called "oscypek" was in a risk of being forbidden because it is not pasteurized according to EU norms. This cheese had to undergo a lengthy and complicated process to be finally accepted. I know that also Polish delicious yogurt called "maslanka" is in the same risk. So, the Euro-skeptics argue that EU will cause too much of the unification even in food product without considering for the regional differences and tradition.


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