Accession of Poland to the European Union
- Accession of Poland to the European Union
Accession of Poland to the European Union took place in May 2004. Poland had been negotiation with the EU since 1989.
With the fall of communism in 1989/1990 in Poland, Poland embarked on a series of reforms and changes in foreign policy, intending to join the EU and NATO, became realistic. On 19 September 1989 Poland signed the agreement for trade and trade co-operation with the (then) European Community (EC). Polish intention to join the EU was expressed by Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki in his speech in the European Parliament in February 1990 and in June 1991 by Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Krzysztof Skubiszewski in Sejm (Polish Parliament).
On 19 May 1990 Poland started a procedure to begin negotiations for an association agreement and the negotiations officially began in December 1990. About a year later, on 16 December 1991 the European Union Association Agreement was signed by Poland. The Agreement came into force on 1 February 1994 (its III part on the mutual trade relations came into force earlier on 1 March 1992).
As a result of diplomatic interventions by the states of the Visegrád group, the European Council decided at its Copenhagen summit in June 1993 that: "the associate member states from Central and Eastern Europe, if they so wish, will become members of the EU. In order to achieve this, however, they must fulfill the appropriate conditions." Those conditions (known as the Copenhagen criteria, or simply, membership criteria) were:
*1. That candidate countries achieve stable institutions that guarantee democracy, legality, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.
*2. That candidate countries have a working market economy, capable of competing effectively on EU markets.
*3. That candidate countries are capable of accepting all the membership responsibilities, political, economic and monetary.
At the Luxembourg summit in 1997, the EU accepted the Commission's opinion to invite several Central and Eastern European states (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprus) to start talks on their accession to the EU. The negotiation process started on 31 March 1998. Poland finished the accession negotiations in December 2002. Than the Accession Treaty was signed in Athens on 16 April 2003 (Treaty of Accession 2003). After the ratification of that Treaty in the Polish European Union membership referendum, 2003, Poland and other 9 countries became the members of EU on 1 May 2004.
* [http://www.poland.gov.pl/Poland%E2%80%99s,way,to,UE,458.html Poland's way to EU]
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