МОСКВА, 31 декабря 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.
The year 2021 ends for Warsaw with difficulty. The ruling Polish coalition led by the Law and Justice Party (PiS) is experiencing one after another crises in foreign policy. Moreover, not with Russia, which has long been a tradition, but with the Western world, which Poles allegedly want to feel like a part of.
Although a year ago, the Law and Justice party optimistically described the future of the country to its voters. Following long and difficult negotiations in Brussels and at other venues, Warsaw agreed to support the draft budgets of the European Union for 2021-2027 and the European Economic Recovery Fund after Coronavirus.
PiS took credit for allegedly being able to get a promise from the EU not to use a mechanism against Poland that conditioned the allocation of funds from the Economic Recovery Fund and the seven-year budget in compliance with the rule of law.
After all, by this time Brussels had repeatedly criticised the Polish ruling coalition because of the controversial judicial reform and attempts to restrict freedom of speech in the country. The price of the issue for Warsaw was high. The Economic Recovery Fund was supposed to transfer to it about €58 billion for 2021-2027, 4.7 billion from which — this year.
Despite Donald Trump’s loss in the presidential campaign, the «best friend» of the Poles, the Law and Justice party hoped that the administration of the new US President Joe Biden would continue the policy of blocking the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and also would not ignore the Three Seas initiative, where Poland saw itself as a leader.
Representatives of the Polish Foreign Ministry assured the public that nothing would change under Biden. Thus, Warsaw focused on the call of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who during the first telephone conversation with his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau promised to «resume Polish-American strategic dialogue”. Promises of support from the United States were extremely important for PiS, which had previously put everything on the «Trump card».
However, the situation began to change very quickly. The governing bodies of the European Union intensified a massive attack on the Polish ruling coalition. In addition to political tools, judicial ones came into play. One of the heavy siege weapons turned out to be the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which adopted a number of decisions that were perceived in Poland as an attempt on the sovereignty and independence of the country.
In July, the CJEU demanded that Warsaw immediately stop the work of the disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court of Poland. And in October, due to the refusal of the Polish government to do this, it ordered to pay €1 million in fines per day until national legislation is brought into line with EU standards.
Finally, on December 22, the European Commission decided to launch a legal procedure for reviewing Warsaw’s «violations». From Poland, the EC reported, they expect an answer to the questions presented within two months.
The problems faced by the Polish authorities are caused by their incorrect assessments of geopolitical trends and changes. Warsaw believed that the United States would be interested in the development of Central and Eastern Europe as a subject region, contrasting it with Western Europe, primarily Germany.
However, the Biden administration has entered into an alliance with Berlin, agreeing with the German concept of relying on gas in the process of transition to a «green economy». This implied a rejection of Trump’s policy, a refusal to block Nord Stream 2, and also foreshadowed the beginning of warming relations between Washington and Moscow.
As it can be see today, the White House and the Kremlin have gone even further by entering into a discussion of a new model of European security. In such a situation, the anti-Russian and anti-German policy of the Polish ruling coalition makes it marginal in the eyes of Washington, which is switching to the principle of informing Warsaw rather than consulting it. This is the first thing.
The second point. The European Union, apparently, has decided on the need to strengthen integration processes in general, although the struggle continues over which model will be chosen as the basic one. For «Law and Justice», this means that in any case it will have to deal with the creeping federalisation of the EU and its transformation into the «United States of Europe».
Moreover, most likely, the dominance of Germany, against which PiS is fighting, will only increase. This is a serious challenge for the ruling Polish party, which has built its ideology around the idea of the European Union as a union of sovereign states and incites anti-German sentiments in Poland.
Given these circumstances, it can be assumed that 2022 will be a very difficult year for the Law and Justice party. It will have to build its foreign policy in conditions of Polish interests being ignored by the United States and increasing pressure from the EU, which will expand the tools of legal procedures to prevent Warsaw from transferring the dispute to the level of political polemics.
It’s not to exclude that as a result, Poland will actively seek new partners and allies among non-EU countries. However, its choice here is limited. Relying on Kiev will not give it anything, since Ukraine is an object, and not a subject of world geopolitics. And Turkey, with which Warsaw tried to develop a dialogue this year, does not see it as an equivalent partner.
A non-standard move for Poland could be to establish relations with Russia, but it is still difficult to imagine. Therefore, the conflict between Warsaw and the West is unlikely to be resolved without a change of the Polish ruling coalition.