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Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of the enlargement of the European Union. Yes, it’s been five years already since the day Poland joined “Europe”. This, and the swine flu seem to dominate the news today. But, frankly, people are more interested in the flu than in the anniversary. It’s amazing how quickly we learn to take such momentous events for granted.
I asked a few random people about how much their lives have changed since Poland became a member of the EU. Their answers certainly gave me food for thought. Younger kids (well, I call them kids, anyone younger than 30 is a kid to me, OK?) don’t seem to remember any other Poland than this European one. If you’re 20, five years is a very long time indeed. They are too busy planning their studies abroad to have time to ponder how quickly the fortunes of Poland had turned.
Then, there are those who kvetch that the EU is highly over-rated. That life was better in the olden days. As you can imagine, this is a somewhat older generation.
Personally, if someone had told me twenty years ago that one day a Polish passport would be a highly coveted commodity, I would have laughed myself silly. But this day is here now. And I’m definitely not laughing anymore.
Poland has been changing so fast that sometimes it’s hard to keep up. And it shows no signs of slowing down. The next step – adopting the euro. When it will happen, I don’t know. Do I think it’s a good idea to join the eurozone? I’m not so sure. But I am sure that we will adapt. If anything, the last ten and five years showed the amazing resilience and adaptability of our country.
Many in Poland complain that Poles are not very flexible and open to changes. I disagree. And anyone, who’s been looking at the country from the outside, can confirm my opinion. I see nothing but constant changes. Not always for the better, but that’s how we learn. We’ve been in the EU for only five years. During this time we had no choice but to achieve what took older members many more years. True, Poland is a work a progress and we still have a long way to go. But at least we are going and getting somewhere. So, happy fifth anniversary Poland!
Have a wonderful long weekend, enjoy the glorious weather, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.