Polish Ruling Eurosceptics Struggle a Week Before Elections

Democratic Security Outlook 2023: 9 October - 15 October

9 October 2023

Poland’s opposition parties seem to have edged ahead of the ruling Law and Justice  (PiS) before the 15 October elections, the outcome of which may impact the EU’s ability to close ranks in response to mounting security threats in its eastern and southern neighbourhood.

Upcoming on Visegrad Insight:

  • Paweł Marczewski breaks down how undecided women voters will be the kingmakers in the upcoming Polish elections. 
  • Volodymyr Yermolenko’s latest essay covers why the West’s risk avoidance in the Ukraine war must find an alternative path to victory.
  • Policy Brief: EU Migration and Enlargement Ambitions Fall on Deaf Ears in CEE – Our quarterly monitoring of democratic security in the region is available now. Click here to read and download the brief


  • The EU and member states condemned Hamas atrocities against Israeli civilians on Saturday, issuing statements supporting Israel’s right to take military action against the Palestinian militant group controlling the Gaza Strip.
  • The surprise large-scale attack on Israel threatening a wider Middle East conflagration is the latest danger to stability on the EU periphery after the Azeri conquest of Nagorno-Karabakh and the rising tensions between Serbia and Kosovo.
  • The war is set to become the second proxy conflict between the internally divided United States on the one hand and Russia and Hamas-sponsor Iran on the other, testing Washington’s and the West’s ability to maintain the global order.
  • This new threat emerges as the EU is stretched providing military aid to Ukraine and struggles to rebuild its hard security capabilities.
  • Russia, which had close relations with Hamas in the past, called on both sides to stop fighting but also allowed narratives suggesting the conflict in Israel could divert the West’s attention away from Ukraine.
  • Polish President Duda said the war was helping Russia and would increase migration pressures on the EU.
  • Just on the eve of the hostilities, the EU leaders approved a declaration at their informal summit in Granada vowing to “step up engagement with partners from all regions of the world to protect and enhance the rules-based international order”. The leaders called EU enlargement a geo-strategic objective while stressing the need for Kyiv and other candidate countries to adhere to strict membership conditions.
  • Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria reintroduced temporary border checks across the region to stem the increased flow of irregular migrants coming into Hungary through the Balkan trail.
  • Poland and Hungary found themselves isolated and outmanoeuvred over the EU’s asylum reform deal approved by the EU foreign ministers last week in a qualified majority procedure.
  • Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán cried foul, with the latter even calling the EU agreement “rape”, but their “veto” amounted to striking out an insignificant sentence from the summit conclusions.

Ukraine aid worries after Congress, Israel turmoil



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