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Title: Teorie i koncepcje zjednoczeniowe Unii Europejskiej w założeniach programowych oraz w praktyce polskiej polityki integracyjnej
Authors: Master, Beata
Advisor: Stolarczyk, Mieczysław
Keywords: Unia Europejska; polska polityka integracyjna
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Katowice : Uniwersytet Śląski
Abstract: The European Union is a space o f continuous negotiations and an arena hosting the clashes of diverse integration options and concepts represented by EU member states and institutions. Furthermore, the disintegration of the EU (which dates back to the Maastricht Treaty) is becoming more and more visible. It is reflected directly by the presence in the European debate concerning multi-speed Europe and the current actions taken by the Eurozone states aimed at escalating the integration among selected states. Poland is also taking part in the debate concerning the future o f the European Union. The author of this paper attempted to examine Poland’s place in the political and economic space o f the European Union by referring to the theory of integration. The research objective o f the paper is to analyse the Polish integration policy between late 1989 and 2012 within the context o f the international and European integration theory. The advanced research reflection in this scope in relation to Poland as the selected and important EU member state fits into the debate on the relevance of the European Union uniting concepts. The author posed the following research hypotheses in the dissertation: 1 .Considering the current stage o f development of the European Union, the Polish integration policy does not firmly support strictly one international or European integration concept. The Polish integration policy does not have a cohesive and stable integration policy concept and it is largely dependent on the policy and objectives of the current government (this is not only typical o f Poland) and the integration level. 2.Poland is strongly fixed in western structures, which makes the integration policy a vital component of development. What is more, the outlook on the European Union continues to evolve in the Polish political and social space. Poland sees the European Union as the main point o f reference in many political, economic, and social areas. 3.The organisation of the European Union does not only see Poland affect the form of the integration process, but also sees member states and EU organisations affect the functioning of Poland. The influence of a given state on the form o f the European Union mostly depends on the state’s strength and significance in the EU community. This premise sees the place o f a given state in the system conditioned by the current factors, for example the European Union expansion process. Therefore, the interests o f Poland do not always correspond to the interests of the European Union, and the other way around. This deepens the EU’s intergovernmental dimension. 4.Member states constitute the most important element o f the European Union. It is a union of states and nations supported by community institutions. This structure covers the convergence o f its methods, theories, and areas. This makes it impossible to profile the structure only from the perspective of the specified international integration theory. 5.The current stage o f the European Union’s development, its challenges, and its problems show that the integration process continues to evolve and its result is impossible to foresee. 6.The current economic crisis influences the perception and management o f the European Union. The expectations include the intensification of intergovemmentalism and the establishment of multi-speed Union. If Poland remains outside of the Eurozone, it will find itself on the periphery o f the integration process, which is rather far from its very centre. Based on these research findings, Polish politics with regard to and, later, as part o f the EU can be divided into several principal periods. Period 1: (1989-1997) a time of consolidating Polish independence and security. This time was associated with the choice of a principal direction of the Polish foreign policy after 1989, i.e. Western Europe and declaration of Poland’s will to take part in the process of its integration, without having any concrete vision for further course of those processes. This approach was often marked by a claiming attitude, both among political elites (marked by high instability) and the society (a simplified attitude, no social debate or knowledge about integration processes). During that period, Polish politics with regard to the EU cannot be ascribed to any specific model, since that policy was in statu nascendi at the time and was targeted at the EU membership, an objective in its own right. Period 2: (1998-2004) a time of negotiating Poland’s accession to the EU, and the candidate’s becoming accustomed to the rules o f EU’s workings. There was still no vision o f integration processes from the Polish perspective and related opinions were expressed in a very cautious way. The primary aim was membership in the EU, such that was available at a given moment. At the same time, we should stress an important moment in the process of changes: the breakthrough o f the years 1999/2000. The interest in issues related to Poland’s integration with the EU grew more intense then. The Polish government began to address this issue not only from the local perspective (a balance o f benefits and losses), but also expressed opinions on the reformation of the EU as a whole. Poland came as a difficult candidate for an EU member state (Polish support for US activities in Iraq and Afghanistan). This “difficulty” also emerged in the government’s seeking to secure Poland’s financial interests in connection with the accession. It was a period of preparations for membership, marked by a high level o f uncertainty (no clear vision, conflicting views: strong Union or preservation of independence, Common Foreign and Security Policy or working with the USA). Period 3: (2005-2007) a process aimed at building a vision of “Europe of Solidary Nations” in the EU by the government o f K. Marcinkiewicz and J. Kaczyński. Decisive, though not quite stable, support for international liberalism in the Polish integration policy. This manifested itself in reinforcing the Euro-realistic stance, both within Poland and abroad, by many considered, in fact, Eurosceptic. Period 4: (since 2008 to this day) a period of an integration vision being developed by D. Tusk’s government, especially the Minister o f Foreign Affairs, R. Sikorski. It is a time of big changes and evolution in the Polish integration policy. An important issue at this time was a real sense of benefits coming from Poland’s integration with the EU and the Polish government’s pro-European attitude. The integration policy being developed shows a more flexible approach to the concept of independence (emergence o f collective independence) and thinking about the Polish foreign policy from the EU perspective. Additionally, we observed a return to constructing strategic partnership between Poland and Germany, rationalisation of partnership with the USA, Poland’s active contribution to solving EU problems (e.g. the economic crisis), working towards a better “Eastern policy” as part of the EU. R. Sikorski was the first Polish Minister o f Foreign Affairs to have officially used the concept of federalism and vow his support for it in integration processes, mindful of Polish experiences and historical heritage in this respect. The Polish government expresses a firm objection to the idea of “multi-speed” Europe and builds an image o f Poland as an active member state (presidency at the EU Council), enjoying a good economic situation and having a society with an enthusiastic approach to the integration processes and strong Europe, and seeking to be as close to the “epicentre” o f countries behind this process.The analysis o f the integrative concepts presented in this paper shows that the different periods of the Polish integration policy (establishment and execution) saw and continue to see various levels in the majority of the international integration theory elements (of course, this is not just a Polish characteristic in the European Union, but rather a predominant trend in the Union’s integration process). This has been and continues to be conditioned in large part by the foreign policy objectives of the given government, as well as by the current challenges and problems Poland is facing. In the case of the Polish integration policy, as in most other EU member states, we can observe an aggregation of interests, concepts and attitudes. This research project seeks to systematise them.
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