Cardinal Glemp on the Future of Poland in the EU

A Risk and an Opportunity, Primate Says

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina, OCT. 8, 2002 ( Will Poland’s entrance into the European Union help or hurt the country?

Cardinal Jozef Glemp, archbishop of Warsaw and primate of Poland, addressed this issue in an interview here, where a council of European bishops was meeting.

Q: The date is approaching for the entry in the European Union of countries of Central Europe, and there are increasingly more fears and protests. In your country, there are groups that regard European integration as a threat to the cultural and spiritual identity of Poland. What is the position of the Church?

Cardinal Glemp: Entry into the European Union represents a challenge that Christians must know how to address to reinforce their identity in a secularized world that tends to unify itself for economic and political reasons.

However, there are also ideal reasons: The extension to the East is nothing other than the reunification of European peoples. Values rooted in Christianity are their common heritage. Therefore, the extension is both a risk but also an opportunity.

Q: What advantages may be derived for the Churches of the East?

Cardinal Glemp: As regards those who fear the loss of our identity, I reverse the reasoning: The entry into the EU of countries with a strong Catholic tradition, like Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, might be of great help and a formidable contribution for the recovery of the communal and spiritual dimension of Europe, against the prevailing logic of individualism and materialism. If we unite, we will also be stronger.

Q: Among the many problems that complicate the process of integration of Poland in the EU is the unresolved issue of agriculture. As things now stand, Brussels says that your country will not receive all the subsidies that are given instead to other countries. What do you think?

Cardinal Glemp: It is a problem over which politicians and experts litigate. It is not up to the Church to propose a technical solution.

However, the judgment is clear: To give 25% of the subsidies to Polish farmers and 100% to those of the other countries is unjust treatment that exacerbates social tensions. I trust that a more equitable solution will be found, respectful of the needs of the old members of the EU without penalizing the new.

Q: You had a meeting in Brussels with Guenther Verheugen, commissar for the extension of the EU. What impression did you get?

Cardinal Glemp: The impression is that intentions are good but the dispositions are too rigid. There is need for more flexibility. Certain impositions that come from Brussels remind us of the dictates that came from Moscow in the Communist period. A very ugly sensation, believe me.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation