COVID-19 intensifying spat between Warsaw and Brussels

The situation around presidential elections in Poland shows the political chaos in the country

The situation around presidential elections in Poland shows the political chaos in the country, RISS expert Oksana Petrovskaya says. Warsaw has adopted a law according to which the presidential elections must be held before July 12. The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) supports the incumbent president, A.Duda. According to polls, he is now supported by 41% of the population. If the elections were held today, Duda would probably win.

The leading opposition party Civic Platform (PO) has changed its candidate. The rating of its previous candidate, M.Kidawa-Blonska, fell sharply after her calls to boycott the elections, which were supposed to be held by post on May 10. She has now been replaced by Rafal Trzaskowski, the Mayor of Warsaw. “This candidate is a kind of trump card as he has not lost any elections yet,” Petrovskaya explained.

The elections in Poland demonstrated a further split in Polish society on the European issue. CiS continues to aggravate relations with Brussels and promotes anti-European sentiments. Moreover, the coronavirus outbreak has further deepened the differences between Poland and the EU.

Polish Prime Minister M.Morawiecki said in Parliament that the EU did not provide any financial assistance to Warsaw to fight COVID-19, unlike China, which helped it with medical supplies. However, RISS expert recalled that even before Morawiecki's speech, the EU had already allocated €37 billion to support countries during the pandemic, of which almost €7 billion had gone to Warsaw.

In expert’s opinion, the Polish authorities are deliberately conducting anti-European propaganda. According to opinion polls, people who are going to vote for the candidate of the Polish Peasant Party and PO are Pro-European. The PiS electorate, on the contrary, is confident that Brussels cannot dictate its terms to Warsaw. By the way, this point of view is supported by almost 40% of poles. As a result, CiS-EU relationship is deteriorating. The attitude of CiS towards Russia is also getting worse. On May 12, a new national security strategy was signed, in which Russia was designated as the main threat to Warsaw.

“Poland's policy is both anti-Russian and anti-European. Warsaw also has poor relationship with Germany and France. This distinguishes Poland's foreign policy from the policy of the other states of the Visegrad Group. For example, Hungary also supports the unification of the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe, but it does not pursue an anti-Russian policy,” Petrovskaya concluded.

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