The Battle for Democracy Can Be Won in Warsaw
Anna Wojciuk in Foreign Policy clarified potential options for EU- and US-Poland relations moving forward in the wake of Russia's unjustified invasion of Ukraine, and their implications for the health of democracy in Europe and more broadly. The author argues against the assumption that Russia's war in Ukraine has strengthened Poland's position vis-à-vis the pressures placed on Poland by the EU and wider democracy support community over the democratic backsliding exhibited by the country under the leadership of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS). The key change brought on by the war is that the previously coherent ruling structure behind PiS has now been divided between those who would rather maintain relations with the West, and those that fundamentally question Western values, with the situation also impacted by the fact that the European Commission has put certain democratic conditions before it will release 57 billion EUR in funding to Poland. With elections expected in 2023, Wojciuk argues that this situation has created a window of opportunity to put pressure on PiS to reverse certain undemocratic processes, or risk missing out on EU funds and potentially sustaining serious losses in 2023 elections.