The role of Poland in Europe
The role of Poland in the united Europe depends not only on ourselves; however, we can exert some influence on it. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: if we continue to treat science and education as we have been doing for the last few years, i.e. if we think that we have too much of them, that they should earn their living themselves under market conditions, if we keep comparing the expenditures on them to those of the marginal countries of the EU, we will self-determine our role in Europe as a marginal country. The system of science in Poland, with serious international achievements, contributing to the high quality of education in Poland on the international scale, will collapse then; it will become subject to the starvation process, known from the history of other countries (among others, of these marginal countries to which we now compare ourselves). Our children, and also our grandchildren, since such processes take decades, will have to go to other European countries in order to get good education.
However, if we do not want to play an unimportant role, whatever it should be, we must invest. The necessary condition is to maintain and improve, and not to worsen, the quality of science and university education in Poland.
The costs of such investment were correctly estimated in the resolution of the Polish Parliament (the Sejm) of October 13, 1995; it is necessary to designate about 2% of the GNP (6-7% of the state budget) for university education and about 1% of the GNP (3-4% of the budget) for scientific research from the state budget. One may think that this percentage is too high, that we have no money for it, but if we think so, we condemn ourselves to an inferior position in Europe. On the other hand, we might be of quite a different opinion, i.e. that we must find money for such a purpose, and then it is necessary only to transform the will of society into political will.
This obviously does not mean that a proper amount of money is sufficient, however, it is a necessary condition. In order for it to suffice, also other elements of Polish strategy of adjustment to Europe are indispensable.