Poland pioneered the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Domestic reformism and the negotiated abdication of ruling elites in 1989 have structured the country's politics in the 1990s. But the division between the communist and Solidarity camps continues to cause problems for a potential reform coalition aiming to complete modernisation through the restructuring required for EU membership. Secular-Catholic and rural-urban conflicts, and well as the growing regional split between the north-west and south-east, have fragmented political life and the party system. Nevertheless, Poland has made remarkable steps in the consolidation of democracy and the development of her political system, whilst maintaining social stability; she is also successfully transcending her historical security dilemma of open western and eastern frontiers and stronger, aggressive neighbours, by embedding herself in Europe through membership of NATO and the EU. Poland is overcoming her historical problems.
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