Changing the EU from within

Fact or Fallacy?

It is argued, by some, that it is better for Poland to join the EU and then try to change it from within, than say 'no' to the current accession proposals.
But this is a dangerous argument because it makes two big assumptions. Firstly, that the bureaucracy which produces the roles and regulations in Brussels is reasonable flexible and underlyingly democratic. Secondly, that there is sufficient political will amongst the Poles and the Polish government, to mount concerted pressure for change on the new regime after having already accepted the conditions of 'occupation'!

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Protests in Poland

On March 9th more than 20,000 farmers spontaneously gathered at the holy site of Jasna Góra in south Poland to seek refuge in prayer and to protest against the complete failure of government, farmers unions or local authorities to represent their needs and defend their struggling industry.
Over the last 2 to 3 years Polish farmers have witnessed the accelerating erosion of their markets by cheap imports the enforced closure of their local abattoirs as well as meat and milk processing plants and the imposition of a bewildering list of rules and regulations that nobody understands the need for. They have been told that all this is necessary in order for Poland to conform to EU accession planned for 2004. Coming on top of this is a relentless rise in the number of big supermarket chains - such as Tesco's - that undermine and ultimately destroy the small shops, quality foods and time honoured village community trading patterns.

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Struggle for farmers surviving

Struggle for farmers surviving - by Ake Karlsson president of Swedish Small Farmers Organization

I will now tell you about the Swedish small farmers and their experiences of the EU-membership. But first some history about Swedish farming. In the fifties there were approximately 250.000 dairy farms. In 1995 (EU entrance) Sweden had 20.000 dairy farms and today there are only 10.000 left.
The total number of farmers 1995 were about 92.000 and today there are about 67.000.

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Vote for Quality

Report from the international seminar "Vote for Quality - - YES for Polish Farmers"

A seminar organized by ICPPC (The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside) took place in Stryszow and Cracow on May 25th - 26th. Among the participants were: Ake Karlsson - president of Swedish Small Farmers Organization, Sir Richard Body - the Member of UK Parliament, author of many books about the European agriculture and the development of Europe, Luise Hemmer Pihl - Danish journalist and member of People's Movement Against EU, Hanna Mitoñska - Farmers Union "Ojczyzna", Ma³gorzata Cieœlak - secretary of Polish Christian Entrepreneurs Association as well as small family farmers from Stryszow area and journalists from press TV and radio stations.

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Proposals on how to save the European model of family farms

Proposals on how to save the European model of family farms in an enlarged Europe
- by Dr Caroline Lucas, Member of the European Parliament

(…)The case that I will make is that if enlargement is to be successful, it must be undertaken on more equitable terms, with sustainable development, rather than free trade, at its heart. The Greens in the European Parliament are making the case that the current EU enlargement strategy pushed forward by the Council and the Commission is, by and large, a simple free trade approach, which leaves the major burden of structural adjustment and the impact of economic liberalization on the candidate countries themselves.

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Jadwiga Lopata: 2002 Goldman Prize winner, Poland

Additional information


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