Poland Report



Poland’s considerable economic, diplomatic and military potential led it to elaborate official documents dedicated to a WGA to foreign conflicts and crises. However, the operationalisation of the WGA in foreign affairs has been only moderately success. Poland’s particular preoccupation with hard security has prompted it to deploy Polish soldiers, monitors, police officers, advisers and border guards abroad, but these resources receive very limited civil assistance, lack a supporting diplomatic presence on the ground, and are insufficiently reinforced by Polish ODA.
Poland’s WGA regarding foreign affairs also suffers from the general and structural deficiencies of Polish state institutions, such as the unsatisfactory coordination between them, institutional rivalries and the strength of informal networks. In fact, Poland’s WGA regarding foreign affairs represents an exceptionally interesting case at present, as the capabilities of the state structures engaged in the WGA are rapidly deteriorating. This negative trend stems from the fact that Poland has been experiencing a structural transformation of its political system since the national elections of 2015 from a liberal democracy based on a division of powers towards a ‘majoritarian’ democracy with authoritarian elements that is dismantling the rule of law. What’s more, due to the high level of factionalism within the ruling elite, its opaqueness and its inclination to reject technocratic and meritocratic criteria, the unprecedented scale of capture of state institutions that has occurred in the wake of the 2015 elections has injected more unpredictability into decision-making processes and more volatility into efforts to coordinate activities within and between state institutions.
The exceptional polarisation of Poland’s political landscape (e.g. between the government and the opposition) is also contributing to a weakening of the operationalisation of the WGA regarding foreign affairs, especially when it comes to ODA. In consequence, even though the PiS government is continuing to develop new comprehensive strategies promoting the WGA, successfully implementing them has become much more difficult than in the past. In fact, the Strategy for Responsible Development (Ministry of Investment and Development 2017), which includes a robust external component, largely remains just a strategy on paper more than two years after its announcement.
Moreover, the negative trends related to Poland’s WGA to foreign crises and conflicts may strengthen considerably in the years ahead. The PiS won the national elections in October 2019 and re-established a single-party government. Most probably, the process of de-democratisation and, by default, the PiS’s capture of the state will substantially accelerate and will further aggravate tensions with EU institutions and key EU member states. In accordance with its ‘sovereigntist’ vision of Europe, the PiS government is also likely to pursue its policy of distancing itself from the EU mainstream. Such a scenario will further hamper the operationalisation of Poland’s WGA related to foreign affairs.
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