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Poles and the EU: the illusion of consensus

‘While in the past the EU was seen in Poland as above all a source of opportunities, it is now ever more frequently being defined as a threat by the current government’ assessed experts of WiseEuropa, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), Stefan Batory Foundation and the Centre for International Relations in the report by Stefan Batory Foundation ‘Polish views of the EU: the illusion of consensus’.

This assessment is confirmed by the deepening row with the European Commission and other European institutions over the rule of law issues, the crisis in relations with France, Jarosław Kaczyński’s proposal to open up treaties and to clearly limit the competences of EU institutions, the common ideological front with Viktor Orbán, and the resolution in the Sejm (lower house of the Parliament) to reshape the EU into a loosely bound association of strong sovereign states.

Critics often claim this Eurosceptic policy of Law and Justice party (PiS) is being implemented in the face of Polish public opinion which is, after all, one of the most pro-European in the EU. The following report shows that the assumption that PiS’s foreign policy (in particular on Europe) is only weakly rooted in public opinion (or is even in contradiction to it) needs to be clearly put into perspective since Poland faced with profound divisions in society concerning various questions connected to the EU. These divisions are crucial concerning the future of Poland’s place in Europe and the world. The time of consensus on these issues has clearly passed. It is important to stress that the consensus on membership alone — which still surpasses 80% — is no longer of great significance.

This text is an excerpt from the Stefan Batory Foundation’s report “Polish views of the EU: the illusion of consensus”. We encourage you to read the whole report, written by the experts from WiseEuropa, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), Stefan Batory Foundation and the Centre for International Relations.

 

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