Poland recently enjoyed
the so-called Long May Weekend—a local holiday weekend that combines Labor Day (May
1) and Constitution Day (May 3). The latter commemorates the enactment of the
Polish Constitution in 1791.
This year’s Long
Weekend was of particular interest, as May 1 coincided with the 15th
anniversary of Poland’s accession to the European Union. That’s why today, in
Polish public debate, much attention is being paid to the EU—to what it has
given us and what it will look like in the future.
Moreover, the European
Parliament is set to hold election on May 26, and the campaign has reached its
All of this raises
questions about how the EU might change after the elections and after Brexit is
complete, and what transatlantic relations will look like.
Battle for the Soul of the European Project
From the Polish
perspective, there is a raging war over values between two factions—a battle for
the soul of the European project.
On one side are those
who hold the EU to be superior to the state. On the other side are those who
hold to the sovereignty of nation-states, and among this group resistance to
the EU has been growing, fueled by a desire of self-determination.
Today, the first group
is represented by Germany, France, and the EU bureaucratic machine. The second group
is reflected particularly in Hungary, Poland, and in the U.K. in the form of
The first set of
actors advocate greater unity, multiculturalism, respect for common rules, and continued
deepening of the EU, including adding new countries into the eurozone. In
principle, this means greater influence for Brussels, and thus for Germany and
France, the two largest players in the EU.
Yet after 15 years in
the EU, Poland is becoming a strong voice representing the second group. This
group understands what a constant deepening of the EU entails, and they have
noticed cracks in alliances and a growing suspicion among EU countries.
From a …read more
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