25 March 1998
Poland sets pre-conditions for joining EU
POLANDS agriculture minister Jacek Janiszewski said the country could not join the European Union (EU) unless its farmers were not given the same benefits as those from other EU member states.
Polish farmers are likely to be subjected to an interim period during which access to western European markets would be limited and its farmers would not benefit from EU subsidies.
Solidaritys rural arm has organised a farmers demonstration in Warsaw to emphasise that farmers must immediately, and fully, benefit from any farm regime which emerges from the planned reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Accession negotiators face a struggle to match Polish interests with those of EU farmers. Poland will have to modernise its agriculture whether it joins the EU or not.
But the question is how far this effort will be left to the Poles themselves without being given access to western European food markets or to what extend EU structural and agricultural funds are to finance the restructuring of Polands rural areas.
- Financial Times 25/03/98 page IV (Poland supplement)