In discussions concerning integration with the European Union and its social consequences special attention ought to be given to the Polish countryside and its inhabitants, where the process of preparations for accession and the first few months of the Union's membership produced the most spectacular results. Until the day of the referendum the Polish rural community was the greatest enemy of the European Union and now it is the Union's main conscious beneficiary. Farmers and residents of rural areas openly manifest their optimism and pro-European attitudes. The first signs of deeper cultural and social changes are also observable. However, the problems of the Polish rural community have not been resolved but have merely become obscured by the temporary advantages of integration. Hence, it can be feared that the positive process of changes may become distorted and that negative feelings and frustration will surface again with double strength. To prevent such a situation it is necessary to perceive precisely and understand the problems of the inhabitants of the rural areas and to analyze changes occurring in the rural community. The most important are efforts to build the 'development capital' of the rural community in a way that can ensure that the residents of the rural areas and farmers will be able in the future to solve problems on their own (with the help of means available from the European Union).
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