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ABSTRACT. Poland is the sixth largest country in the EU and plays an increasingly important role in European affairs. Looking at its history and legacy, Poland has witnessed some of the most momentous events of the last century and in recent years has seen vast changes in its social, economic and political systems. Understanding developments in Poland can teach us important lessons about the past, present and future of contemporary Europe. Opposition to communism, the Polish transition to democracy, how the country has dealt with its communist past and its changing relationship with the EU all provide fascinating insights into the democratization and European integration processes. At the same time, high levels of societal religiosity in an apparently secularizing Europe and the importance of the Catholic Church have provided a distinctive backdrop ensuring that these processes have often worked themselves out in unique ways. pp. 221–236

Keywords: Poland; democratic transition; European integration; Catholic Church

How to cite: Szczerbiak, Aleks (2016), “A Model for Democratic Transition and European Integration? Why Poland Matters,” Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 8(1): 221–236.

Received 6 August 2015 • Received in revised form 1 December 2015
Accepted 1 December 2015 • Available online 10 December 2015

doi:10.22381/GHIR8120169

ALEKS SZCZERBIAK
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University of Sussex

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