National Politics and European Integration

National Politics and European Integration

From the Constitution to the Lisbon Treaty

Edited by Maurizio Carbone

This book discusses the domestic politics of treaty reform in the European Union, from the failed referendums on the Constitutional Treaty held in France and the Netherlands in May-June 2005 to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009.

Chapter 7: Poland: Domestic Discord Makes for a Problematic Partner

Paul G. Lewis

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy


Paul G. Lewis INTRODUCTION Popular sentiments about European Union (EU) membership prior to accession varied significantly in the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, but it was Poland that saw the greatest increase in Eurosceptic attitudes in the run-up to accession and the most dramatic rise in Eurosceptic forces in pre-accession elections (Lewis 2005, pp.184–6). The representation of Eurosceptic parties further strengthened in the 2005 elections, although EU membership in 2004 was warmly embraced by the majority of Poles and approval levels continued to rise in the following years. The broad contrast between a Eurosceptic government and an increasingly pro-EU electorate persisted through 2007 as the Reform Treaty was brought back on to the agenda and lasted until the election held in October, concurrent with the Lisbon summit at which the treaty was adopted. Throughout this period, public opinion on the EU was generally at odds with the preferences of the government on the Reform (later Lisbon) Treaty and major features of the way it pursued the national interest. In October, on a higher than average turnout, the government suffered an electoral defeat and a more cooperative government was installed. This, however, was not the end of domestic tensions over the treaty as the president continued to pursue an obstructive strategy in completing the process of ratification, although the eventual conclusion did not seem to be in much doubt. In this chapter we examine the preferences of successive governments with regard to the Treaty of Lisbon and their...

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