Will Ukraine war return illiberal Poland to EU’s democratic fold?


Poland’s illiberal government may be forced by events, including those unleashed by Russia’s war, to inch closer to the European democratic mainstream, according to Kultura Liberalna’s and . The government knows that the country cannot stand alone against Russia—not even in alliance with Ukraine. And Poland’s tight relationship with NATO isn’t enough because the current challenges are not only military, they write for Foreign Policy:

Polish inflation has soared to more than 15 percent, and the vast number of Ukrainian refugees poses an obvious challenge for the country’s education system, public institutions, and social cohesion. In this situation, it is very difficult to imagine that Warsaw could be so obstinate in its desire to flaunt EU standards that it loses access to post-pandemic EU funds, which Brussels has temporarily blocked in its response to Poland’s rule-of-law crisis. Although the Polish government may still be trying to outwit the European Commission and tell its voters that it won’t fulfill the EU’s expectations, it risks facing a backlash among Polish voters during national elections next year if it does not do what the EU requires for Poland to obtain the funds.

Being so close to an increasingly aggressive Russia has been a bucket of cold water for ideologically heated heads, say Journal of Democracy contributors and . Although it won’t turn Poland’s ruling politicians into flawless liberal democrats any time soon, it will likely take the edge off some of their policies. RTWT

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