Europe and its discontents: Poland’s collision course with the European Union

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Series Details September 2017
Publication Date September 2017
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+ Poland’s Law and Justice Party (PiS) has embarked on a process of ‘de-Europeanisation’ to give the country a greater sense of sovereignty and to push back against the socio-cultural model that it feels is imposed by western Europe.

+ Poland’s efforts to distance itself from the EU are motivated by both ideological and economic concerns. Ideologically, PiS believes that the country’s values and identity are threatened by the EU, and economically, PiS feels that its ambition to become one of Europe’s big trading centres is limited by its current position in the EU value-chain.

+ In pursuit of its goals, PiS has pushed Berlin, its longstanding partner, away. Instead, it has sought to ally itself with the UK and the Visegrád states to form a counter-weight to Berlin. But this has been less successful than hoped.

+ In the process of ‘de-Europeanisation’ Poland has diminished its influence in the EU by prioritising NATO over CSDP, undermining democratic institutions, and miring itself down in spats with the EU, among other things. Poland can only avert its collision course with the EU by protecting its democratic institutions and proving that it is deeply anchored in a changing Europe.

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ESO: Background information: Should the EU be concerned about a possible ‘Polexit’?

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