Poland. According to Countryaah.com, Poland Independence Day is November 11. Prime Minister Leszek Miller was indicted at the beginning of the year for serious corruption. He is alleged to have offered to stop a bill on mass media in exchange for major contributions to his ruling party Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) from a media company that would be disadvantaged by the new law. At the same time, there were rumors that President Aleksander Kwaśniewski would have staged the story to discredit Miller. Parliament’s work on the Media Act was stopped and a parliamentary commission began to investigate the case, which was also investigated by prosecutors. In March, Miller’s government coalition burst, but not because of the bribery allegations.
The EU-skeptical Polish Peasant Party (PSL) voted in Parliament against a government proposal on road taxes, which resulted in Miller dismissing the party’s two ministers. With the PSL’s assortment, the government ended up in a minority in parliament.
The government supported the US-led war against Iraq and a few hundred Polish soldiers were sent to the Persian Gulf. At first it was said that they would not take part in combat units, but when some were still in combat, the government was accused of bringing the public behind the light. After the war, Poland was commissioned to maintain a so-called stabilization zone in southern Iraq. In September, the United States handed over the administration of southern Iraq to the Polish troops, which then amounted to 2,500 men. A Polish general was commanded by a total of 9,200 soldiers from 21 countries.
Cooperation between the US and NATO country Poland was also manifested by the fact that Poland signed agreements during the year to purchase 48 US F-16 aircraft. President George W. Bush made a short visit to Krakow to meet his Polish colleague. The Catholic Church voted for a Polish EU membership, which was believed to play a major role in the referendum in June, when the Jaside won clearly with 77.5% of the vote. The resistance was mainly in the countryside, especially among older voters.
The unresolved bribery charges persecuted Prime Minister Miller, who, moreover, could not do much about the poor economy and high unemployment and who received increasingly poor opinion figures. The opposition demanded new elections, but President Kwaśniewski wanted to avoid elections before Poland’s EU accession in May 2004. Instead, Miller requested a vote of confidence in parliament, which he won by 236 votes to 213. The joy, however, was short-lived for the head of government. During the summer, it was revealed that one of the SLD’s MPs advised party representatives with contacts in criminal circles about an imminent police action against a criminal league. The scandal persecuted the party year-round and led, among other things. to the resignation of the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, as well as the National Police Chief.
After 1990, Poland has become fully integrated into Western and European cooperation.
Poland became a member of the all-European organization the Council of Europe in 1991. Together with nine other countries, including Norway, Poland established the Baltic Sea Council in 1992. At regional level, the Polish side also attaches importance to the Visegrad Group, an intergovernmental central European organization. It was established in 1991 and now includes Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, besides Poland.
In the economic field, the country joined the World Trade Organization (1995) and the OECD (1996). It was important for security policy that in 1999, Poland, together with the Czech Republic and Hungary, join the first group of former communist countries that joined NATO.
Poland applied for membership in the European Union in 1994 and in 1997 joined the first group of candidate countries from Eastern Europe. The negotiations were hard and complicated, but Poland succeeded in obtaining long transitional arrangements, including in the environmental field. The agreement signed in 2003 was put to the referendum. The result was 77.5 percent. Together with seven other Eastern European countries, Cyprus and Malta, Poland joined the EU on 1 May 2004. Poland chaired the EU in the second half of 2012. The country’s former prime minister Jerzy Buzek was the first politician from the new member states to become president of the European Parliament (July 2009-January 2012).
Poland acceded to the Schengen agreement in 2007. Here, Poland plays a key role, as the border control agency FRONTEX has its headquarters in Warsaw. As an EU member, Poland is part of the EEA. The country has since 2004 been the largest recipient of EEA funds, see articles EEA Agreement and Poland’s relations with Norway.
Given Poland’s history, its relationship with the United States is a cornerstone of its foreign policy. Cooperation with Germany is extensive in all fields. France, Poland and Germany have close contact within the framework of the Weimar Group. Since 1990, relations with Russia have been changing. The last Russian soldiers left Poland in 1993. Poland’s desire for NATO membership had long been a strain on the relationship, but was eventually accepted. After Donald Tusk from the Citizen Platform (PO) took over as prime minister in 2007, his cooperation with Russia was strengthened. Following the incorporation of Crimea into Russia in March 2014 and the Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine, Poland, like other EU countries and Norway, has imposed sanctions on Russia. As part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence is a reinforcing force deployed in Żagań.
Poland had good relations with Iraq during the Communist era and has played an important role in US interests in Iraq since the Gulf War in 1991. Poland, in 2003, opposed the German-French-Russian line in the issue of disarmament of Iraq and joined the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia joined the invasion in 2003. In May 2003, Poland was given command of a multinational force in an occupation zone in southern Iraq. With a force of about 2,500 soldiers, Poland was the fourth largest contributor in Iraq. The Polish forces were withdrawn in October 2008. However, Poland strengthened the number of soldiers in Afghanistan. The withdrawal of the forces from Afghanistan was completed in 2014.