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 Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 12:09 GMT
Poland warms to other nations
Germans see in the New Year by the Brandenburg Gate
Four out of 10 Poles now like Germans

People in Poland appear to be becoming more relaxed about foreigners - according to a new opinion poll.

Sociologists suggest this may reflect a growing self-confidence, associated with the country's Nato membership and impending membership of the European Union.

The poll by the semi-official CBOS polling organisation suggests that the most popular foreign nations are the Americans, Italians, French and British.

The least popular are Russians, Jews, Ukrainians, Serbs, Arabs, Romanians and Gypsies.

Germans more popular

This matches the results for polls over the last 10 years.

Polish likes
Americans: 58%
Italians: 54%
French: 51%
British: 51%
Czechs: 50%
What is worth noting, though, is that, in every case, the degree of dislike is getting smaller.

The main beneficiaries of this trend are the Germans.

Ten years ago, fewer than a quarter of those questioned professed to like Germans, while 53% of Poles said they disliked them.

Today, 38% say they like Germans, while 31% do not.

Traditional anti-Czech attitudes appear to have evaporated, with 50% of Poles now claiming to like their southern neighbours - two percentage points more than the traditionally popular Hungarians.

Anti-Semitism strong

A decade ago, a clear majority of Poles claimed to dislike Russians and Ukrainians (56% and 65% respectively).

Polish dislikes
Ukrainians: 48%
Jews: 46%
Russians: 43%
Germans: 31%
Today the figures are 43% and 48%. Nearly a quarter of Poles now claim to like their eastern neighbours - up from 17% and 12% a decade ago.

Traditional anti-Semitism remains strong, with nearly half admitting a dislike of Jews - several percentage points more than in the mid-1990s - but better than a couple of years ago.

This may be a reflection of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

These are not dramatic changes - but they do suggest a gradual relaxation of traditional fears and animosities.

Czech comparison

The figures also confirm an abiding affection for the Latin cultures of south-western Europe.

Poland is the largest of the current batch of 10 EU-applicant countries.

These opinion poll results suggest Poles may find integration with European Union psychologically easier that some other Central European nations.

Polls carried out in the Czech Republic in recent years suggest a third of Czechs actively dislike foreigners - with Gypsies and Germans heading the list.

Former Soviet citizens, Arabs, Jews and black people are also unpopular.


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