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I'm not sure why, but I've seen little attention paid to this weekend's Polish referendum on EU membership. Maybe it was because of the the holiday weekend here in Germany, or that the result already seemed certain. Indeed, well over 80% did vote yes, and turnout was over 50% so that the vote is binding.

There is a nice (but for subscribers only) summary in this week's Economist of why Poland is quite important. Poland is by far the largest of the 10 new member states and will be the 5th largest member, thus speaking for the other new members and playing a leading role in shaping the new EU. That role will very likely be pro-agriculture (as in subsidies) and pro-US.

Meanwhile Germans will have to get over the stereotype that the Poles want to steal their jobs, just as the Poles have to get over the stereotype that the Germans want to steal their land. Back in 2000 I posted a little story of German-Polish friendship from my wife's family. Maybe it can be a parable of how Germans and Poles can get along with their old-new neighbor on the Oder.

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