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The road to EU membership

Poland submitted its application for EU membership on 8 April 1994. During the summit of the European Council in Essen (9-10 December 1994) the Polish government confirmed its will to join the European Union structures, and adopted a pre-accession strategy.

In May 1997 the Polish Sejm adopted the National Strategy for Integration which specified the tasks Poland would face on its way to full EU membership and the deadlines for their fulfilment.

Negotiations towards accession commenced on 31 March 1998, the first stage being to analyse compliance with EU law of the regulations of those countries applying for EU membership. In the second stage of the negotiations, based on a legislative review, the candidate countries prepared their negotiation positions on individual areas and presented them to the Presidency of the European Union. The 16 April 1999 saw the start of regular meetings of political directors and European correspondents of associated countries and member states of the EU as part of a political dialogue. Polish delegations were headed by Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (1997-2001) and Danuta Hübner (2001-2004). By 2000 Poland had completed 25 out of 30 negotiation areas; the remaining 5 being finished by 2002. The negotiations were officially completed during the EU summit in Copenhagen on 13 December 2002.

After the Accession Treaty was signed in 2003, on 9 April 2003 consent to its signing was given by the European Parliament, and on 14 April the Treaty was approved by the Council of the European Union.

On 7-8 June 2003 a nationwide referendum was held in Poland, in which 77.45% of voters were in favour of Poland’s accession to the European Union.

On 1 May 2004 Poland became a fully fledged member of the European Union.

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