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It's one of the toughest jobs in the former East Bloc: negotiating Poland's entry to the European Union. The biggest problem is figuring out what kind of subsidies should go to Poland's agricultural sector, which employs 27% of the population.
Enter veteran diplomat Jan Truszczynski, 53, who is leading Warsaw's talks with Brussels. He's pushing for Poland's farmers to receive the same support as their counterparts throughout Western Europe on the grounds that they will have to compete head-on with them once the last barriers between Poland and the EU are removed. EU negotiators are balking for fear that the cost, as much as $7.5 billion annually, would break the EU budget.
Truszczynski, who has spent the past quarter-century representing Poland in Western capitals, knows he'll have to make some concessions to hammer out a deal. Says he: "Poland wants to join this club. It is not the EU that wants to join Poland." His aim is to get as much as possible out of Brussels and then hope Polish voters will accept it. Both Polish and EU politicians say that if anyone can find a popular compromise, it's Truszczynski.