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The priorities of Polish European policy
1. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

The membership in EU means that Poland wants to have a say on the future shape of a united Europe and to participate in the efforts to accomplish the long-awaited reforms of EU. Poland wants to play active role in the negotiations for signing the European Constitution and declares for a compromised formula of it with the balanced character including all the interests of the membership countries. One has to hope that political will and high level of determination will finish with accepting the European Constitution during the meeting of the Council of Europe in June 2004. It will make Europe more united, more solidarity and more effective.

2. THE ENLARGEMENT OF UE

This year very important in the works of UE is continuation and closing of the accession negotiations with Romania and Bulgaria. Another important issue is supporting Turkey in its efforts taken to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria. The decision on introducing the negotiations with that country will be made by the Council of Europe in December 2004.

A new element in the process of UE enlargement is the issue of admitting the status of the candidate country to Croatia and possible beginning of negotiations. These decisions could be made by the end of the year.

3. A NEW FINANCE PERSPECTIVE

As far as the actual finance perspective will be terminated in 2006, it is necessary to make a decision on the assumptions of a new finance perspective by the end of 2005. A new finance perspective will determine the development of many European finance policies, as the Common Agriculture Policy, the cohesion policy and pro-extension policies connected with the realization of the most important social and economic programme of UE - Lisbon Strategy. The discussion on a new finance perspective is especially important for the future shape of UE, taking under consideration the necessity of filling the gap between "old" and "new" members.

4. THE COMMON AGRICULTURE POLICY

Accepted in 2003 reform of The Common Agriculture Policy has pointed out the main directions of its development till 2005, and UE has obliged itself to secure the conditions for using the instruments of The Common Agriculture Policy in the new membership countries.

The timetable of works of UE foresees the finishing of the negotiations on the reforms in every common agricultural market, what will effect in the increase of competitiveness of the union products on the world markets. Since 1st May 2004 Poland - as fully right member of EU - can participate in works for preparing the next stage of the Common Agriculture Policy reform.

5. THE COHESION POLICY OF EU

Poland's membership in EU means fully righted participation in creating and taking advantages from the benefits of European policies, as the Cohesion Policy of UE. It is one of more important policies, after the Common Agriculture Policy and it consumes the biggest part of common budget. Its main goal is to achieve cohesion in the social and economy areas. Simplifying it is a whole range of activities directed for flattening the development differences between the countries and the regions of EU.

For Poland that means the possibility to use such instruments as Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund. It gives to our country both the great development opportunities and the great challenges as well. To benefit from those funds our country must co-finance projects that use support from assistance funds, prepare applications fulfilling the demands of community procedure, and construct systems to supervise the actual use of the assistance funds.

In the context of EU Cohesion Policy Poland should concentrate in two main spheres: ensuring that all available after 1st May 2004 funds will be effectively used and active participation in the discussion on the future of the Cohesion Policy, which is lead simultaneously with the discussion on the EU budget for the years 2007-2013.

6. FREE FLOW OF PEOPLE

There is a debate going on in EU as to whether EU will lose out due to the free flow of people - a thing built in to the way the Single Market works. EU law allows people to settle anywhere in any of the EU countries and take up employment, but it also ensures recognition of professional qualifications and the co-ordination of national social security systems. The result of this will be far greater opportunities for Poles to be employed in the EU and gain access to professional or vocational training.

However, despite the fears of some member countries, there will be no significant rise in economic emigration from Poland. Barriers to Poles looking for work abroad include limited knowledge of foreign languages, problems with finding accommodation, distance from family and friends and environment. People with high qualifications already obtain permission to work in EU countries relatively easily. People with low qualifications tend not to be prepared to take on the demands of foreign labor markets.

Arguments that should lessen the fears of Europe's citizens about their labor markets are supplied by statistics on enlargements to date.

Anyway the possibility to take advantage from the free flow of people is, both with the voting rights, the main aspect of the catalogue of the rights of UE citizen. At the present moment only Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden and Holland has agreed for full free flow of people from the new members of UE. The other "old" members have remained in force seven years transitory period.

7. CO-OPERATION IN THE FRAMEWORK OF JOINT FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY

The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is a system of co-operation between EU states in the area of international policy, a second pillar of the EU. The idea of a European security and defense identity is implemented in the framework of this second pillar - these activities outline the joint European security and defense policy. Poland is fully prepared on its EU entry to take part in the Joint Foreign and Defense Policy, and declares that its current foreign policy is convergent with the CFSP. Poland accepts all the political aims outlined in the European Union Treaty and declares its participation in activity essential for the joint defense of the interests of member's states.

After joining the EU Poland is going to play an important role in shaping the EU eastern policy. Poland expects a visible differentiation of the neighborhood policy in relation to each region and proclaims itself in favor of the development of the Eastern Dimension UE as a mechanism coordinating for the eastern policy activities and a platform for regional co-operation.

It is in Poland's interest to pursue the EU Eastern policy, one of the Union's strategic objectives, to establish good neighborly relations with countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States. As an immediate neighbor of the Russian Federation (bordering on the Kaliningrad Region), Poland welcomes all initiatives to develop many-sided and good-neighborly co-operation, including economic and energetic co-operation.

Poland declares its strong support for the Ukraine in its ambitions to develop closer relations with countries and institutions of UE and supports the close relations between Moldova and UE.

Poland's participation in the Joint Foreign and Defense Policy of UE will not be limited to the eastern policy. We will closely observe the process of stabilization on the Western Balkans and we strongly support the European way taken by those countries. Poland desires to participate in the Barcelona Process and Mediterranean Partnership, which aim is to develop closed relations between UE and its neighbors on the south coasts of Mediterranean Sea. From Poland's point of view it is important to develop close trans-atlantic political, military, economic and social relations between UE, USA and NATO.

We are also far from forgetting about other areas out of Europe: in Asia, Latin America, Caribbean and Africa. We want to take part in the Joint Foreign and Defense Policy in those regions. The active participation in the Joint Foreign and Defense Policy will demand from Polish diplomatic institutions to pay attention not only for attitudes of membership countries, but UE institutions as well. And especially important will be the attitudes against non-European/non-EU countries, and the economic and trade relations with all the aspects of the development aid.
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