Could Poland bring down the EU? Brussels - Warsaw conflict rages on | World | News - World Big News

Could Poland bring down the EU? Brussels – Warsaw conflict rages on | World | News

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Donald Tusk and have mounted a political offensive against the government of Poland, targeting its internal judicial reforms and environmental policies.

This month Mr Tusk issued a dire ultimatum, saying Poland’s place within the EU is currently “under a question mark”.

The conflict is just one example of the EU attempting to stifle Euroscepticism by any means necessary.

And despite Poland’s belligerence, a political expert from the University of Opole, in southern Poland, does not believe that it has enough power behind it to put a dent in the EU.

Professor Rafał Riedel told Express.co.uk: “I do not believe that Poland has the political and economic weight – despite it being the biggest new EU member and will be the biggest EU economy outside the Eurozone after – to affect the future of Europe’s integration process.

“It is after all a peripheral country, which is quite fickle politically.”

According to the professor, as recently as two years ago there was an enthusiasm and “integrative energy” in Poland which gave the stagnant bloc a breath of fresh air.

But today the country is becoming more of a dead-weight for Brussels’ Eurocrats who are growing tired of its evident Euroscepticism.

Poland v EU: Jean-Claude Juncker and Beata SzydloGETTY

Poland v EU: Does Poland’s government have enough power to take down the EU?

Professor Riedel added: “Poland needs the EU a lot more than the EU needs Poland – a fact that nationalist politicians in Warsaw seem to forget.”

Despite this dependence, Poland is still quite clearly rumbling the foundations of the EU, flaunting regulations and choosing to ignore an injunction from the European Court of Justice.

Conflicts broadly cover two main areas. In July Brussels launched an infringement procedure over reforms that experts believed would undermine the independence of Poland’s courts.

The second front has now opened over plans to cut down swathes of the primeval Białowieża forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Polish EU supporters in WarsawGETTY

The majority of Poland still supports the European Union

“We will not allow those who do not know our environmental laws to offend us,” said Environmental Minister Jan Szyszko.


Poland needs the EU a lot more than the EU needs Poland – a fact that nationalist politicians in Warsaw seem to forget

Professor Rafał Riedel, University of Opole


The stand-off has only bolstered the country’s ruling elite who are now ramping up a Polish exit (Polexit) scenario to threaten the EU.

“This ‘Polexit’ is becoming quite likely,” said Katazyna Lubnauer, of the Modern party. “For now, we are at the stage of discouraging Poles to the .”

Some Eurosceptics are also looking towards the Visegrad Group (V4 Group) as a potential threat that could take down the EU.

But the sidelined economic bloc of Central European nations is not big enough of a power to pose any genuine danger to Brussels.

Professor Riedel said: “It was initially a political fulfilment of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) – a waiting room of sorts before entrance into the EU.

“‘You want to integrate with western structures, then first prove in a smaller formula, that you can cooperate’.”

Four nations currently make up the V4 group: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

“Depending on the political moods in Warsaw, Prague, Budapest or Bratislava, that cooperation worked to greater or lesser extents, but in more recent times we can see a lot more conflicts of interest rather than common initiatives,” the professor continued.

Poland v EU: Beata Szydlo and Jaroslaw KaczynskiGETTY

The ruling Law and Justice party is testing the EU’s patience

“Sometimes the V4 nations will consult each other in their important matters ahead of EU Parliamentary summits, but we also have spectacular failures such as the 27-to-one vote on Donald Tusk’s re-election.

“We cannot, however, forget that in this square, Poland is twice as big economically and territorially than the other members of the group combined.”

Ultimately, Poland’s ambitions to dominate the region are likely doomed to fail without any major backing from other member states. 

“This asymmetry of potential somewhat scares off its smaller partners, specifically in the context of superpower sentiments in Poland,” the professor said.

“Poland has ambitions of being at least a regional superpower, but in order to be a leader it needs its own followers.”