How the Polish elections will change Europe

Mark Leonard welcomes Piotr Buras and Jana Puglierin to discuss Poland’s return to Europe

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Poland is returning to European politics as a constructive player. The country’s National Electoral Commission confirmed on Tuesday morning that the Polish opposition has gathered enough votes to form a government and end the Law and Justice party’s eight-year rule of illiberalism and Eurosceptism. The results also hold two key lessons for Europe: a country’s illiberal turn can be reversed, and polarisation is an insufficient tool to mobilise progressive voters.

In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes senior policy fellows Piotr Buras, head of ECFR Warsaw, and Jana Puglierin, head of ECFR Berlin, to understand what we can expect from Poland’s new government and what Poland’s return to the EU’s centrist fold means for its neighbours and for Brussels. What options do Law and Justice have in opposition? What immediate consequences will the election results have for how Poland relates to the EU, to Germany, and to Ukraine? What effect will they have on the enlargement debate and on European elections next year?

This podcast was recorded on 17 October 2023.


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Cover image:
October 15, 2023, Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland: The Civic Coalition’s leader Donald Tusk speaks during the election night in Warsaw
Image by picture alliance / | Attila Husejnow

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