October 13, 2023

The Future of European Integration Hinges on Poland

On Oct. 15, Poles will vote for a new parliament. As the ruling national-conservative government led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party fights a hotly contested race with a centrist opposition bloc, the Civic Coalition, the future of not only Poland but the European Union is on the line. Whereas an opposition victory could present an opportunity for the EU to capitalize on new geopolitical momentum generated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in order to consolidate its unity as a bloc and strategic actor, a third term for PiS and its allies could cause this nascent effort to crash on the shoals of a Polish government determined to play spoiler.

If Poland left the camp of the EU’s spoilers and renewed its adherence to the bloc’s legal order, it would have knock-on effects far beyond the EU-Poland relationship.

Since Russia’s invasion, many have hailed Poland as Europe’s new geopolitical center of gravity because of its leadership in opposing the Russian threat. Warsaw’s credentials on defense are undeniable, including substantial military aid to Ukraine and a rapid defense buildup of its own. But when it comes to Europe’s long-standing ambition to forge an “ever closer union” better able to resist global turmoil, the current Polish government has been a consistent centrifugal force. Since coming to power in 2015, PiS has attempted to block measures to deepen EU cohesion and even roll back existing forms of integration, prioritizing national sovereignty at the cost of weakening the EU’s effectiveness as a bloc.

Read the full article from Foreign Policy.

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