Law and Justice in Poland. But what about the EU?
by Dimitris Rapidis and Miroslav Jaroszewski (October 29, 2015)
Especially after this year's twin win for PiS, old-school, veteran Kaczysnki is undeniably Poland's most influential leader. Appeared in the front scene in 1989 after achieving to form the first non-communist post-war government, his comeback is associated with his country's big step in Brussels' decision-making inner room. With Donald Tusk serving as President of the European Council -in spite of his political rivalry with Kaczysnki - Poland increases its influence in the European soft and power politics block. This does not go alone as during the previous years Warsaw's political leadership has proved to be a strong pro-European voice in Eastern Europe, demonstrating a bold stance during CAP talks, assuming a pro-US stance in NATO intervention in Middle East and Central Asia, while balancing efficiently between its Soviet-friendly past and the stakes of European unity when confronted with Russia's interest in the neighborhood.
PiS is not a nationalist party. It has been modernized during the previous years, adopting a radical economic agenda that does not endorse austerity as the unique recipe for EU's "bad students". Its social agenda has been broadened, appealing to the traditional religious Poles but also to younger populations, the unions, the business world. Good thing with the Polish economy is that it resisted the economic crisis and slowdown, having now the chance to launch a soft economic and public spending policy that goes against Eurozone's strict consolidation model. Public debt is one of the lowest in the EU (i.e. 50%, aligned to Maastricht criteria), unemployment is controlled around 9%, and growth keeps steady with 3.3%. While Poland should be cautious on how dealing with its miraculous economic performance, it can exert pressure to Berlin and Brussels and join forces with the European South on challenging austerity. But this first relies on the intentions of Warsaw and whether the political leadership truly wants to pull the country outside the safety zone of being a vibrant economy but without interfering nor contesting a certain economic strategy and realm in Western Europe.
PiS might be more interested in forming a block of influence in Central Europe and get more involved in the refugee crisis. Not in terms of accommodating more refugees and assuming the relevant burden-sharing, but on tightening Europe's deterrence policy. Relations with Germany might get worse in the energy field as both Kaczysnki and Szydlo despise Berlin's interfering role in the pricing issue as well as the exclusive partnership between Germany and Russia in the Nordstream at a time where Poland's vast agricultural market suffers a lot from EU's sanctions policy against Moscow.
For the time being, emphasis will be given in domestic politics and the re-organization of state bureaucracy and mechanisms. At the same time, PiS team will invest in Poland's foreign policy role as guarantor of stability in Northeastern Europe and a core pillar for smaller member-states in the Baltic Sea. Similarly, a closer partnership with Great Britain will be sought, more on hailing national sovereignty merits rather than endorsing Brexit.
Dimitris Rapidis is Director at Bridging Europe. Miroslav Jaroszewski is Junior Policy Analyst at Bridging Europe
bridging europe services
Want to learn more? Click here
bridging europe membership
Want to learn more? Click here
Bridging Europe experts cover the Greek and Eurozone crisis, as well as the regional geopolitical developments.
Follow our interviews and commentaries featured in European and international media and get in contact with for special insights and analysis
T: +30 210 7255 174
bridging europe infographics & polls
Want to find our more? Click here