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Pete North @PeteNorth303
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Was admiring the road system from Berlin to Warsaw. Part of the International E-road Network. Turns out it's UNECE, not EU.…
On 4 June 2014, the Polish stretch of the motorway received official name as Autostrada Wolności (Motorway of Freedom) - which is an interesting insight into the psychology at work and positive attitudes to the EU. Will elaborate in a blog on my return.…
What's interesting is that there's still some residual border control on the German border as there is a view it cannot be fully abandoned until the Ukraine side is fully sealed. Border delays even for individuals can be up to three hours even with Ukraine association agreement.
This particular road though is pivotal to Poland's economic growth. At one time in recent living memory it was a poorly maintained dual carriageway. Now it's world class motorway. Connectivity to the west is valued. Freedom to leave is prized.
There is a view that the UKs departure from EU is a threat to that freedom. It's clear that soviet rule left a deep scar on the national psyche which is why the EU enjoys disproportionate support among the liberal middle class. Brexit seen as regressive.
Trying to explain Brexit here is not so easy. The remainer narrative is the one that seems to have proliferated abroad. The best I can say is that it's more complex than is understood and as much to do with internal politics. Hard to elaborate to those who don't speak English.
What is clear though is that the EU can be viewed through many different national lenses and reasons for supporting it are as varied and multifaceted as reasons for leaving it. UK clearly has different national priorities. There is no uniformity in attitudes to the EU.
One thing you do notice is the gulf in attitudes to health and safety. No outer doors on residential elevators and driving standards are closer to those of kamikaze pilots. The closer you get to Warsaw the more insane the driving. Taxi trips are... hair-raising.
They don't have anything like the authoritarian nanny statism we have. Possibly why the Poles I know are more intrepid. Also why their supermarkets are better. You wouldn't catch them doing this...

One thing I do like is that they seem to have held on to Christmas family traditions better than we have. There's still more of a religious undertone to it rather than it being the empty binge festival it is in the UK. But then I'm staying with a very middle class family.
As I understand it though, the attitudes in Warsaw are hugely different to the regions, many of them still remote and cut off by poor roads. The gulf between metropolitan districts and the shires is by no means unique to the UK. Parts of Poland still hugely socially conservative.
In some respects EU is valued as a show of European strength against Russia. Which to me is an oddly sovietesque attitude. Particularly prevalent view here. That EU isn't a democracy is not an argument that carries weight here. They dont care. Brits apparently fetishise democracy
Hope you'll forgive the fragmented nature of this thread. Taking notes as a memory aid for a fuller write up when I get back. Going sightseeing today then on to Berlin tomorrow.
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