Poles happy with German reunification 20 years on

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As Germany fetes 20 years of reunification Sunday, a majority of neighbouring Poles believe it was good for Poland and Europe, according to an opinion survey published Friday.

Seventy-nine percent of Poles surveyed said reunification benefited Europe and 74 percent thought it benefited Poland, Germany's eastern neighbour, according to a September survey by the independent ISP pollsters of 1,000 people, published Friday by Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

Only six percent of Poles surveyed thought reunification was of no benefit to Europe while eight percent thought it was of no benefit to Poland.

The ISP compared these results to the findings of a similar survey from 1990 which showed that 85 percent of Poles saw German reunification as a threat to Poland while 74 percent thought a divided Germany was preferable for Poland's security.

Now, two decades later, 68 percent of Poles believe reunification has stabilised the political situation in Europe while 61 percent think it paved the way for Poland and other ex-communist countries to join the European Union.

Half of Poles also believe that unification had allowed Germany to dominate Europe both politically and economically. Three quarters of Poles believe Poland's current relations with Germany are good.

A lengthy process of reconciliation took place in post war period to heal wounds inflicted by Nazi Germany's bloody and devastating occupation of Poland during the Second World War.

© 2010 AFP

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