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The Polish Paradox: Euroscepticism as a political instrument, or an integrated part of national identity?: An analysis and examination of the way the European Union is positioned in the Polish debate on the areas of immigrants and refugees, and the rule-of-law dispute


  • Lucas Benderfeldt

Summary, in English

In connection with the EU, Poland has often given the impression of being a Eurosceptic member state. At the same time, around 87% of the population declare that they are in favor of the membership. The current Polish government, which gained immense support in the September 2015 national parliamentary election, has been criticized by various EU Commissioners for, inter alia, illegal logging in the Białowieża Forest, forced retirement of Supreme Court judges and refusal to accept any refugees in the wake of the refugee crisis in 2015. Not only have they been criticized: the European Court of Justice has deemed several cases illegal and many more are pending in the Court in Luxembourg. But what can explain this paradox of a pro-EU population electing a seemingly Eurosceptic government, in a country that very much indeed relies on European funds?

This paper examines the Polish responses to criticism from the European Union in relation to Euroscepticism and Euro-support and examines whether Euroscepticism is used as a political tool to mobilize voters by appealing to national identity and identity sentiments. To investigate this, the present paper analyses two policy areas: the immigration and refugee area and the rule-of-law.

Euroscepticism in Poland can be demarcated to certain policy domains, being most visible in sensitive, value-oriented areas. In other areas, the Polish government supports the majority of EU proposals and remains highly reliant on the membership of the Union, suggesting Euroscepticism often is instrumentalized in politized topics.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences


  • Euroscepticism
  • Policy making
  • Poland
  • Polish politics
  • rule-of-law
  • article-7
  • article-19 TEU
  • Immigrants and refugees in Poland
  • European Union
  • international relations
  • European studies


  • Tomas Sniegon