Polish vote to join union marks historic decision

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2003

More than three-quarters of the Poles who voted in (last) weekend's referendum on European Union membership supported the government's proposal to accept the membership agreement. That was a historic decision, and we can sense its dimensions if we look back 15 years, or 200 years for that matter.

Both in the 1980s and in the 1790s, the Polish people and their leaders made clear that Poland's place was in Western Europe. Both times, such an orientation was not acceptable to the rulers in Moscow.

The referendum's result secures the place Poland rightfully has in the European family. It is part of the nation's tragedy that decade after decade it was so exposed to attack from neighbors who had subjected themselves to power hungry tyrants. Therefore, the Poles for centuries were not able to benefit from their historical anchor point. ...

The referendum is significant for the Poles, and no less important for Europe. With its 40 million people ... a democratic Poland contributes more new members than the other nine candidate countries put together.

Aftenposten, Oslo, Norway - June 10

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