OUR WAY TO
TO NATOTO NATO
AND EUAND EU
POLAND JOINS NATO
The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 and a positive response from NATO
member states made Poland’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance become
The year 1994 marked a very important stage in the negotiation process, i.e. the
drafting of the Partnership for Peace programme which became an important
instrument preparing Poland’s accession to NATO. As a result, in 1997 NATO
heads of state and government in Madrid decided to officially invite Poland,
Czech Republic and Hungary to join the organisation.
The official signing of Poland’s, the Czech Republic’s and Hungary’s accession
protocols, ratified by the then member states, took place on 16 December 1997
The last stage of the ratification process consisted in delivering to the United
States (depositary of the Treaty) the so-called accession instrument. The
ceremony was held on 12 March 1999 in Independence, Missouri. The then
Foreign Minister of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Geremek officially
confirmed Poland’s accession to NATO by presenting Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright with Poland’s act of accession to the North Atlantic Alliance.
POLISH ACCESSION TO EU
Accession of Poland to the European Union took place in May 2004. Poland had
been negotiating with the EU since 1989.
With the fall of communism in 1989/1990 in Poland, Poland embarked on a series
of reforms and changes in foreign policy, intending to join the EU and NATO. On
19 September 1989 Poland signed the agreement for trade and trade co-
operation with the (then) European Community (EC). Polish intention to join the
EU was expressed by Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki in his speech in
the European Parliament in February 1990 and in June 1991 by Polish Minister of
Foreign Affairs Krzysztof Skubiszewski in Sejm(Polish Parliament).
On 19 May 1990 Poland started a procedure to begin negotiations for
an association agreement and the negotiations officially began in December
1990. About a year later, on 16 December 1991 the European Union Association
Agreement was signed by Poland. The Agreement came into force on 1
February 1994 (its III part on the mutual trade relations came into force earlier on
1 March 1992).
POLISH ACCESSION TO EU
As a result of diplomatic interventions by the central European states of the Visegrád
group, the European Council decided at its Copenhagen summit in June 1993 that:
"the associate member states from Central and Eastern Europe, if they so wish, will
become members of the EU. To achieve this, however, they must fulfil the
appropriate conditions." Those conditions (known as the Copenhagen criteria, or
simply, membership criteria) were:
•1. That candidate countries achieve stable institutions that guarantee democracy,
legality, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.
•2. That candidate countries have a working market economy, capable of
competing effectively on EU markets.
•3. That candidate countries are capable of accepting all the membership
responsibilities, political, economic and monetary.
At the Luxembourg summit in 1997, the EU accepted the Commission's opinion to
invited (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprus) to start talks
on their accession to the EU. The negotiation process started on 31 March 1998.
Poland finished the accession negotiations in December 2002. Then, the Accession
Treaty was signed in Athens on 16 April 2003 (Treaty of Accession 2003). After the
ratification of that Treaty in the Polish European Union membership referendum, 2003,
Poland and other 9 countries became the members of EU on 1 May 2004.
POLAND JOINS SCHENGEN AS BORDER
In 1985 The Schengen Agreement was signed by five countries which were then part
of the European Community. The Schengen Area existed outside the structure of the
EC. In 1990 the Schengen Convention, which proposed the abolition of internal
borders and a common visa policy was signed. The rules and agreements existed
then entirely outside of the European Union. This led to the creation of Schengen Area
in March 1995. More and more EU member states joined the Schengen Area, which
resulted in its incorporation in the European Union structures.
The Schengen Area consists of 26 countries; some states are associated with The
Schengen Area, benefiting from the opportunities that the Schengen Area offers.
The Schengen Area allows citizens of countries belonging to it free travel as a result of
eliminated border controls between member states. There are also stricter controls on
the borders with non-Schengen states to protect the interests of The Schengen
countries. There is free movement of goods, information, money and people, thus
encouraging cooperation within the Schengen Area.
Poland joined the Schengen Area on 21 December 2007 together with The Czech
Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
POLISH PRESIDENCY IN THE EU
Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union was a period of time
when Poland led the Council of the European Union. Between the 1July 2011
and 31 December 2011Poland for the first time took over the presidency of the
European Union Council. Fulfilling the functions of presidency of the EU Council
was the result of the Polish EU membership and its obligations.
POLAND IN NATO OPERATIONS NOW
Poland perceives the Alliance as significant forum of dialogue and consultations
in transatlantic relations, within “Partnership for Peace” program and in special
relations with Russia and Ukraine. Poland also supports further NATO
enlargement. Stabilisation activities carried out in different regions of the world
show the role of the Alliance in international security.
Poland participates in all the most important NATO operations: in Afghanistan
(ISAF), Kosovo (KFOR), Iraq (training mission NTM-I) and in the Mediterranean Sea
(Active Endeavour). At the moment engagement in Afghanistan is a priority for
Poland. Almost 2000 soldiers are deployed there. It is the first NATO operation of
this kind. It requires performing various military and civilian tasks, aiming at
ensuring security and stability as well as gradual reconstruction of the country.
That is why it is very important for NATO’s role in the future.
IMPORTANT POLISH MEMBERS OF
THE EU PARLIAMENT
• Janusz Lewandowski is the European Commissioner for Financial Programming
• Jarosław Pietras is the General Director of the Council of the European Union.
• Jerzy Plewa is the General Director of the Directorate for Agriculture in the EC.
• Marek Belka is a member of the General Council of the European Central
• Marek Safjan is the Judge of the Court of Justice.
• Irena Wiszniewska-Białecka is the Judge of the Court of First Instance.
• Augustyn Kubik is the Auditor of the Court of Auditors.
• Irena Boruta is the Judge of the Civil Service Tribunal.
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