Poland. The relationship between Conservative President
Lech Kaczyński and Liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk
remained tense during the year. The big battle issue was the
fight against corruption. Lech Kaczyński's twin brother
Jarosław Kaczyński set up during his time as prime minister
the anti-corruption agency CBA, which was accused by the new
government's supporters of conducting political
witch-hunting. Several politicians within the ruling
Citizens' Platform were singled out in a corruption legacy
called the Blackjack Gate. They were suspected of contacts
with forces trying to stop a bill on tax increases on
gambling. A number of designated politicians resigned but at
the same time denied the allegations. In October, both the
Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior and the
Deputy Minister of Finance left their posts. According to
countryaah, Prime Minister
Tusk then decided to replace the head of the CBA, Mariusz
Kaminski, who had led the corruption hunt against the
politicians within Tusk's party. Kaminski was prosecuted for
violating his powers, and a parliamentary commission would
investigate Blackjackgate. Tusk promised that the tax
increases on gaming operations would be implemented.
When President Barack Obama announced in September that
the United States had decided to scrap the old plans for a
robot shield located in Poland (and the Czech Republic),
Poland's reactions were mixed. At the Conservative
president's office, people first spoke of failure, but Prime
Minister Tusk later explained that Poland saw the new plans
for a mobile missile defense as interesting and ready to
During the year, Poland led nine countries from the
former Eastern bloc in opposition to the EU's unified
proposal for the international climate summit in Copenhagen
in December. Among other things, it was considered that
Brussels allocated Poland too few allowances, which also the
EU court agreed in its ruling in September. Poland also
opposed the Swedish EU Presidency's proposal on how funding
for the poor world climate measures should be distributed
within the EU. Poland considered that the burden should be
distributed according to GDP size. In addition, they were
required to use unused allowances that they did not need to
use in the so-called Kyoto Protocol. A compromise was
concluded by writing that other EU countries should assist
them by the Union members who have problems with climate
In September, Parliament passed a law forcing the
chemical castration of men convicted of rape on children
under 15 or incest. In November, the president signed the
law, which thus became the first of its kind in Europe. The
law came into being since a man was arrested for having had
his daughter as a sex slave for years.
On September 1, a ceremony outside Gdańsk was held for
the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. Heads
of government from all over Europe participated, including
from Moscow and Berlin, where the two main enemies were.
Prime Minister Tusk wrote a letter to Europe's leaders
during the year calling for support for an upgrading of the
museum at the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz
outside Kraków that was about to expire.
Poland was the only EU country that looked to see growth
in the economy during the year. In the first three quarters,
GDP grew by 0.8, 1.1 and 1.7 per cent, respectively.
Nevertheless, Poland was so affected by the economic crisis
that in July the government decided to roll out plans for
euro accession in 2012. A new and longer timetable must be
worked out. Unemployment was around 12 per cent during the
In the EU parliamentary elections in June, the ruling
Citizens' Platform more than doubled its voting share to
over 44 percent, taking half of Poland's 50 seats. The
right-wing party Family League, which came second in the
last EU elections in Poland, now fell out of the European
Parliament. The newly elected EU parliamentarians appointed
Poland's former Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek in July as new
president. He thus became the first politician from the
former Eastern bloc to lead the European Parliament.
In April, at least 21 people died in a fire in a shelter
for homeless people in Kamień Pomorski outside Świnoujście.
Negotiations on membership
Poland applied for membership in the European Union in
1994 and in 1997 joined the first group of candidate
countries for new members. The negotiations were hard and
complicated, but Poland succeeded in obtaining long
transitional arrangements, including in the environmental
field. The agreement signed in 2003 was put to the
referendum 7 - 8. June the same year. The result was that
77.6 per cent voted for membership.
Together with nine other countries, Poland joined the EU
on 1 May 2004.
On the Polish side, efforts are being made to strengthen
the EU's military capabilities and to increase cooperation
between the EU and NATO. Poland is concerned that
developments in euro cooperation must not lead to a block
sharing in the EU. Poland chaired the EU in the second half
Support from the EU to Poland
Poland is the Member State that will receive the most
support from the EU in the 2014-2020 budget period - a total
of € 206 billion, including € 28.4 billion for agriculture.
Poland in the EEA
As an EU member, Poland is part of the EEA. The country
has since 2004 been the largest recipient of EEA funds, see
the article Poland's relations with Norway.
Poles in EU positions
Former Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek was the first
politician from the new Member States to become President of
the European Parliament. He was president from July 2009 to
Donald Tusk was President of the European Council from
December 1, 2014 to November 30, 2019. He was the first from
the new EU countries elected to this position.
Poland acceded to the Schengen agreement in 2007. The
Border Control Agency FRONTEX is headquartered in Warsaw.
The Party of Law and Justice, which has held power in
Poland since 2015, believes that joining the eurozone will
not benefit the Polish economy .
Further enlargement of the EU
Like the other Visegrad countries, Poland supports EU
membership for the six Western Balkan countries that are not
yet members: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo,
Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
EU cooperation under the government started from the
Party of Law and Justice
After Andrzej Duda of the Party of Law and Justice (PiS)
was elected president in 2015 and that party formed a
majority government in the same year, Poland has pursued a
more EU-critical policy. The President has also criticized
the former Liberal government for failing to vote against a
proposal to relocate 66,000 refugees, including 5,000 to
Poland, at a meeting of EU Home Affairs Ministers in
September 2015. The government has made it clear that Poland
will not be pressured to accept more refugees.
Representatives of the European Commission have criticized
Poland for pursuing too strict policies in this field.
The European Commission has also been strongly critical
of the government's media policy and the Law of 29 December
2005 on the Constitutional Court, see articles Mass Media in
Poland and Poland's political system.