EURO-ENTHUSIASTS OR EUROSCEPTICS?
Fr. PAWEŁ ROZPIĄTKOWSKI
What positive things are noticed by Polish believing and practicing Catholics, which were fruits of entering of Poland into the European Union? First of all, they notice – although it must be honestly added that in this area not everybody sees – a positive influence on economical matters. Nearly 52 percent of them believe in positive results of the integration in the area of economy. They evaluate the influence of the EU on education in the most negative way. In some sense a surprise is a big number of undecided in evaluations who chose the answer ‘difficult to say’. Nearly half of them – 47 percent – respondents of the survey carried out by the Statistics Institute of the Catholic Church do not think that the European Union gives a full freedom to the Roman-Catholic religion. Only every fifth surveyed answered this question positively. What about the others? We can say that they had a difficulty with this question. Every tenth person chose the answer ‘difficult to say’, and 20 percent chose ‘it depends’. The older surveyed people there were, the more frequent critical voices there were towards the European Union in this respect.
In the second question sociologists asked the surveyed about whether the catholic religion is on equal rights with other religions on the area of the European Union. Here the Catholics are also very divided. That is true that 42 percent of them state so, but not much less of them, because 37 percent think completely the other way round. Every fifth surveyed does not have any clear opinion in this matter and chooses the answer: ‘difficult to say’. In this case a percentage of the surveyed thinking that the Catholics have the same rights as other religions, increases with the level of education of the surveyed.
What next with Europe?
Does the European Union need changes? Which direction should changes go to: to the direction of stronger integration or maybe the present political construction is enough? These dilemmas were included in the next question. ‘Europe should be: united in the integral wholeness of the European Union more strongly (more fully); remain on such a level of integration as it has been so far; none of the above answers – every surveyed could choose one of the three above answers. Definitely, the third possibility was mostly chosen, that is, neither what we have till now, nor a stronger integration. Nevertheless, the first option had its supporters, among every fifth respondent. A fuller integration has its supporters among 30 percent of Polish believing and practicing Catholics. Nearly over 61 percent of the surveyed see a possibility that the European Union may break up into particular countries. Men see this possibility more often than women. The frequency of this answer is also increasing with the level of education. Over 75 percent of the surveyed of higher academic degrees and titles perceive this pessimistic scenario. Only every tenth respondent strongly claims that he does not notice this possibility, and every fifth respondent does not have any opinion in this issue.
How did entering of Poland into the EU influence the development of Poland? How do the surveyed perceive these issues? The authors of the survey pointed out to 6 areas of a possible influence: securing the finances of the country, economy, religious freedom, culture, education and other areas. Most positive opinions are about the area of economy. 51.6 percent of the surveyed chose the answers: ‘definitely positive’ and ‘mostly positive’. The area of culture was in the second place in the respect of positive opinions (7.2 percent and 32.3 percent). In a further order we have a better security of finances of Poland – 29 percent of positive opinions and education – 27 percent. Only 15 percent of the surveyed pointed out to the religious freedom as an area of positive influence connected with entering of Poland into the EU. In this case over a half – 54 percent noticed that this influence was negative. On this pole in a further order were: education – 53 percent, finances – 39 percent – culture – 36 percent and economy – 31 percent.
Difficult to say
A high percentage of the surveyed in the survey of the Statistics Institute of the Catholic Church had a difficulty with the answer to the asked questions, which was proved by a frequent choice of the answer: ‘difficult to say’. It expresses a kind of disorientation and lack of an opinion among a big part of the surveyed. It also seems that the respondents from this group skeptically look at the European integration, perceiving its positive influence abut often seeing its dark sides as well.
The survey of the Statistics Institute of the Catholic Church was carried out for the Catholic Weekly ‘Sunday’ on 13-23 September 2012, among 360 respondents. The survey was entitled ‘Christian expectations towards the shape of Europe’.