When we talk to people we can notice that there is a lot of contradictory information about the future of Poland in the European Union. Full of hope and optimism dr Krystyna Rejman agreed to talk to us.
Doctor Rejman, are you for or against accession of Poland to the European Union?
- I am for. My opinion has always been the same, because of the changes which took place in Poland we have been on ”the Union track” for a long time. Poland is a big market and at the same time it represents really big potential itself. We enter the EU, not NAFTA for example, because we are in Europe and we have to look after our business here.
What do you think, Poland can lose? What are you concerned about?
- W e have to learn working with limits and very precise regulations. Portugal and Spain had some difficulties in getting used to this way of working, but in the end they succeeded and gained a lot. People in Poland are afraid of losing their national identity. To prevent such a situation, wise cultural and social policy is needed.
Then how to convince farmers to the accession to the EU?
- Farmers make up about 25% of employees in Poland. Some of them have modern farms and do very well but there is also another group of farmers who simply try to survive. The results of the national agricultural survey conducted by the Central Statistical Office in 1996 show that only 54% of the farms produce food for the market. The remaining 46% are those farms whose owners will be forced to apply for agricultural pensions or find employment in other sectors of the economy: industry and services, in small and medium size companies. On average in EU-15 there are 66% people who work in the service sector whereas in Poland 51%. Farmers not connected with the market will pay the most for our accession to the EU. But we must remember that this price will be paid for the future of the next generations.
And what can Poland offer to EU countries?
- First of all, high quality food. Many companies produce in accordance to the European Union standards, have quality certificates and QMS (quality management system). Our crops are sometimes even smaller by 50% than in the EU countries, but instead we get raw materials with less chemical substances improving the quality. Being close to the nature is our advantage. Adaptation to the Union standards is just a matter of time. We really need well educated people to work in consulting as well as the proper access to information education and training.
Do you have any feelings as far as the result of the referendum about the accession to the EU is concerned?
- The result of the referendum depends on the effectively organised campaign for European Union. Polish people need only real arguments for and against. They will decide on their own and I hope they will say yes.
Thank you very much for this meeting.
As it turns out we can impress professors from agricultural universities from the EU with high standards of the Polish farms. For example, near Grójec there is a 30 ha farm where apple and plum trees are grown. Also modern machines used for sorting , packing and cooling these fruits make a good impression. Such farms show that Polish agriculture will be able to get through the structural transformation stage.