Poland and the Twenty-First Century
Publication
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 27 Feb 1997, p. 451-458
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Poland and the Twenty-First Century


Some observations regarding the latest development in Central Europe from Poland's perspective. A note of optimism in the speaker's remarks regarding Poland. Reasons to be optimistic. Poland's survival as a nation. Poland's initiation of the change and transformation process in Central Europe. The birth of "Solidarity" and the vision of Lech Walesa which will carry Poland confidently into the 21st century as an independent and democratic country. The future. The remodelling of Poland over the last seven years. Poland in the context of a new Central Europe. A discussion of the economy. Where Central Europe is going. Integration with the western democracies. High expectations and general optimism. The determination to join transatlantic international institutions. How these aspirations regarding western integration impact on relations with Poland's eastern neighbours. The speaker's belief that the first decade of the 21st century will see the rebirth and transformation of Eastern Europe. Obligations to friends and neighbours east of Poland who are rebuilding their economies and moving towards democracy. Central Europe as the security vacuum zone. Seeking full membership in NATO. The expectation that this year in Madrid NATO will invite Poland along with several other Central European states to begin negotiating the terms of accession. The crucial need for co-operation within the context of European and world security. The role of the western democracies in this transformation process. Poland's trade with the European Union. Eastern Europe facing several major national internal and external problems. Room for a special form of co-operation between the western democracies and Central Europe which could flow to Eastern Europe. Canada's involvement. Canada and Central Europe extending their horizons a little further to the East.