What will joining the EU mean for the Polish young people?

An inevitable process of the unification of Europe occurs in all fields of today’s life on the continent, connecting progressively interdependent countries and proving that the need for international cooperation will eventually prevail over separating factors.

For Poland, a country willing to develop, joining the European Union stands an unsurpassed chance. In this manner, investigating profits and losses that the youth will undergo is not a decisive issue. However, they are going to be a significant element of the outcome. Thus, the influence of our membership in the EU should be analysed thoroughly in order to make use of benefits and counteract possible dangers.

The merits, associated mainly with the European framework of openness, include interconnection of such domains as work, business and education, broadening the range of opportunities for the youth. Disappearance of borders will result in easiness of travelling, establishing contacts between nations. Therefore, a good command of foreign languages and an ability to navigate skilfully in different cultures will become essential among young people to achieve professional success. Students will be assisted by the EU authorities and will gain access to the European scientific and cultural assets.

Next, joining the EU will encourage more investment in Poland, which will provide the youth with more numerous and challenging jobs in fields such as international tourism. The demand for compatibility of Polish laws and regulations with the European ones will force the government to take greater care of the younger generation and to increase subsidies on education. Hopefully, the pressure of the EU will annihilate problems such as bribes and unfairness, giving everyone equal rights to study and launch a career.

On the other hand, the European competitive job market will necessitate higher qualifications and attributes such as mobility, flexibility and creativity. This is going to figure prominently in young people’s lives the more so as many of them will have to emigrate due to a rise in unemployment levels. Furthermore, prices are going to increase as a result of the disproportion in salaries between Poland and the EU countries.

Another serious danger is the western influence, which will allegedly suffocate our culture and impose an ideological conformity. In fact, universalistic propensities of culture are apparent in all modern societies, not extinguishing their own identity. Interlacing influences allow cultures to live freely and evolve. All that is valuable and worthy of survival in each EU country amounts to its uniqueness. Membership of the EU is a chance to retain this individuality in the world of a gradual globalisation.

The EU itself turns to the younger generation to outline a strategy of further development. The European Youth Forum represents the interests of young people towards the EU, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. The European Commision’s White Paper on youth calls for a more direct participation and involvement of young people, in particular in the Debate of the Future of Europe.

In the vein of the Leaken Declaration, The Youth Convention assembled in July, 2002 to convey to the adult Convention young people’s vision of Europe they would like to live in 25 to 50 years from now. The greatest emphasis was placed on respect of cultural diversity and basic rights of all citizens, development recognizing the value of natural environment and peaceful cooperation of European countries.

Joanna Janowiak

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