It’s a long way to ‘Polexit’

Will it be Poland leaving the EU or the government leaving office?

15 October 2021

Wojciech Przybylski

Editor-in-Chief

The decision of Poland’s government-controlled constitutional court to reject EU authority has raised the spectre of ‘Polexit.’ But it might also have awakened Poland’s pro-Europe camp, and even paved the way for its own demise.

Poland, one of Europe’s most pro-EU countries, is now haunted by a fear of an exit from the club due to PiS’s politics. Donald Tusk’s return to the national stage has only sharpened the dividing line that will now be focused on the potential for Polexit.

In legal terms Polexit would not need a referendum, unlike Brexit. It would take only a decision of the government to initiate a formal divorce. But after several statements at the end of summer from bigwigs of the governing party PiS, suggesting that Poland is defying Brussels just like it defied Nazi or communist rule, any notion of such an intention was quickly dismissed by officials. The stakes became high again when the PiS-controlled constitutional court voted last week to reject EU authority in Poland’s justice system.

The country is now embroiled in a war of words over its future in the EU. Donald Tusk has used the opportunity to bring around a hundred thousand protesters onto the streets of over 100 towns and cities across the country. Meanwhile the PiS government is trying desperately to cling to power by flirting with the radical right-wing of its coalition. This is in the wake of several seemingly disastrous political developments, including nepotism scandals, public audits exposing political corruption, the loss of a minority coalition partner, and a leaky border with Belarus.

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Wojciech Przybylski

Editor-in-Chief

Political analyst heading Visegrad Insight's policy foresight on European affairs. His expertise includes foreign policy and political culture. Editor-in-Chief of Visegrad Insight and President of the Res Publica Foundation. Europe's Future Fellow at IWM - Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna and Erste Foundation. Wojciech also co-authored a book 'Understanding Central Europe’, Routledge 2017. He has been published in Foreign Policy, Politico Europe, Journal of Democracy, EUObserver, Project Syndicate, VoxEurop, Hospodarske noviny, Internazionale, Zeit, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Onet, Gazeta Wyborcza and regularly appears in BBC, Al Jazeera Europe, Euronews, TRT World, TVN24, TOK FM, Swedish Radio and others.

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