Poland in Europe: disappointment or merely hiccup?

Real Instituto Elcano in Madrid just published a paper I authored entitled Poland in Europe: disappointment or merely hiccup? (Madrid 2019).

Abstract: What is Poland’s position in the EU in the context of the political and economic developments under the Law and Justice government? Since 2015 the one-party government in Poland has engaged in a policy of a radical change. A set of various reforms have been implemented, some of them highly controversial, such as the reform process in the judiciary. The judicial reforms –or ‘take over’– put the Warsaw government on a collision course with the EU institutions over the rule of law. This paper analyses three aspects of the Polish-EU relationship: (1) the state of the rule of law; (2) the economic challenges; and (3) the political position of Poland among EU member states.

Excerpt (1):
Poland: what happened to the golden child of European integration? To the country that economically grew and developed like no other in the past 20 years, invested in infrastructure and kept its public finances in order? To the country that cut unemployment from 20% to single digits in a decade? To the country that in recent years gave Europe Presidents of the European Parliament, European Council and Council of Ministers? To the country that welcomed millions of visitors in the month-long party of the UEFA championships in 2012? To the country that championed EU values and defended, promoted and helped define them? And to the country where WWII began and Communism ended?


Excerpt (2): Poland first.
Global trends have tended to somehow gravitate around this country in the middle of the Old Continent. The First World War violently gave birth to a number of new independent states. The largest was Poland, a complex nation with ethnic minorities comprising 32% of the population. The Second World War broke out in Poland while communism in Europe ended with the emergence of Solidarność and the Round Table negotiations in 1989. Poland was the most important country in the process of NATO’s Eastern enlargement. It was a crucial partner in the EU’s 2004 ‘Big Bang’ enlargement.It was the first victim of the new wave of populisms that came to power in Europe:before the Brexit vote and Italy’s 2018 elections, Poland had become a victim to the new Eurosceptic populism. Will it be the first to leave it behind too?

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