1. What are your expectations/hopes from these elections?
These elections may constitute a turning point in my country political situation. Almost since 4 years we struggle around the constitutional order in the country that is being reshaped by currently ruling conservative-populist party, Law and Justice. They also play on people feelings of self-esteem, while engaging in disputes with the EU institutions claiming that Poles ‘get up from their knees’ and proposing ‘sovereignty discourse’ in relation to the EU. On the other side, there is a group of various opposition politicians that try to maintain Polish strong position in the EU, continuing what has been worked out before 2015. All these disputes translates themselves in strong political polarization of the society.
The results of May elections will set the direction where Polish presence in Europe will be heading in the coming years. And when I observe the recent movements on Polish public and political scene it fills me with some hope. The most important opposition parties has just recently built a wide coalition for these elections around main aim, which is safeguarding European values. Moreover, there has been also new political party established recently willing to represent citizens, who have not been heard so far. However, what I’m still missing is clearer program proposals, indicating also how the EU can take care of equalizing the living conditions of various inhabitants of our countries. This could wipe out some members of our societies from the influence of populist politicians.
2. Do you/people in your member state still have faith in the EU to deliver?
Polish public opinion has been traditionally supporting EU membership. This support has remained remarkably stable since the electoral victory of Law and Justice Party in 2015, in spite of the anti-EU narratives, which this party has employed on a number of issues (migration, rule of law). The share of Poles who support EU membership reached the highest value ever (88%) in April 2017 and remained stable since then. Moreover, the supporters of Poland’s membership in the European Union dominate in all socio-demographic groups and in the electorates of all political parties with the greatest social support.
The continued support for EU membership is grounded in the perception of many Poles that their country has benefited from the membership in the EU on many levels. However, the views of the EU’s most desirable future developments are varied and strongly dependent on political affiliation. There are also significant sceptical pluralities or majorities on some policy issues where the position of the current Polish government significantly differs with the policies and opinions of the EU institutions. This concerns the issue of refugee relocation and migration as well as the alleged violation of the rule of law.
3. Will you be voting? If so, who for (if you are willing to say)?
I will be definitely voting this May, as I consider this one of my most important privileges and duties. However, I cannot say now, whom directly I will support. My dreamed candidate will present strong support to EU values, understand the need to involve citizens in meaningful way in decision making and will have realistic ideas, how to solve some of the most important social problems of our times through mechanisms available on the EU level.
This article was first published in Brussels Express and is reproduced with kind permission.
To read the original article, click here
New Europeans is a membership organisation and a platform which gives citizens a voice in the debate about the future of Europe.
To join New Europeans as a member, click here