|Footnote to my previous post:|
Playing Agricultural Poker: Poland and the EU
09 November 2000
Poland's European Union negotiator Jan Kulakowski announced that his country may delay its accession if the EU doesn't provide direct subsidies for Polish agriculture. Poland's economy depends on agriculture more than do most EU nations. The EU is unlikely to concede to Poland's demands, however, and Poland will probably join the EU anyway.
The EU's Common Agricultural Policy, which subsidizes Europe's agricultural sector, is already overextended. Forty-six percent of the EU budget supports the program, although agriculture only accounts for 2 percent of the EU's overall GDP.
Nearly 22 percent of Poland's work force is in agriculture, compared with Germany's 3 percent or France's 5 percent. Poland's agricultural sector, however, accounts for only 6 percent of the country's GDP. Polish agriculture's economic contribution to the EU would not be enough to warrant subsidizing its work force.
The EU, which may reduce the scope of the CAP program in the near future, is likely to ignore Poland's threat of delayed accession. Poland needs the EU far more than the EU needs Poland. Plans for expansion, through the Czech Republic and Hungary, are likely to proceed, thereby isolating and pressuring Poland. In the meantime, Poland would miss out on membership benefits. Faced with this reality, Poland will probably withdraw its threat and proceed along its scheduled course with the EU.