Poland’s peaceful transition from communism to democratic government and an economy based on private businesses is one of the most remarkable success stories of the 1990s. Other countries in similar situations are able to benefit from the Polish experience.
Poland joined NATO in 1991 and has become an important member of the world community, taking a very active role in the United Nations. As well as participating in international aid programmes and peacekeeping initiatives, Poland is setting an example to the rest of the world in tackling environmental problems. Poland has made many reforms to bring itself into line with other members of the European Union. One of the big challenges it still has to tackle is to find a way to reduce unemployment. Joining the European Union means that the government has to encourage privatization and remove the subsidies it pays to some industries, but this often leads to more people losing their jobs. As the twenty-first century began the level of unemployment in Poland was rising instead of falling. Despite this, Poland is in a strong position to become a EU member and there is a strong desire in the EU to include Poland.
There was a time not so long ago when jazz was banned in Poland because of its Western associations. Today’s generation enjoys the freedom of expression that people in the West have always taken for granted.
Now young generation have all sorts of opportunities that their parents did not have – They can learn English or French, for example, whereas parents could learn only Russian. They can go on holiday to Spain, Italy or the UK but in the past it wasn’t so easy. They hope to go to university to study politics or something related to Europe. Poland is in the centre of Europe, but they are still seen as belonging to the East Perhaps that impression will change when they are part of the European Union.