Friday

2nd Dec 2022

Poland's ruling party back in the lead after Ukraine crisis

  • Donald Tusk (l) pictured with EU council chief Van Rompuy - the Polish PM has been meeting other EU leaders over the Ukraine crisis (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The Ukrainian crisis has been a gamechanger in Poland's European election campaign – Donald Tusk's PO was set to lose; it is now back in the lead.

Twenty-seven percent of Poles say they would vote for the centre-right Civic Platform (PO) and 26 percent for Law and Justice (PiS), according to the latest poll by TNS Polska, published on Sunday (6 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

This is a significant change. For more than a year, the right-wing opposition party led by former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski was 5-7 percentage points ahead of the ruling party.

Until this spring, voters were turning away from Donald Tusk's party due to growing dissatisfaction with his government, which has been in power for over six years.

Last year was not a good year for the Polish economy and unemployment increased to more than 14 percent.

However, the Ukrainian crisis and the government's strong response has changed the trend in the polls. In Poland, the PO succeeded in moving the campaign from domestic issues to foreign policy, where it feels stronger.

As tensions rose in February, Donald Tusk toured Europe and met 11 leaders of EU member states. The Polish foreign minister, together with his German and French counterparts, played a key role in resolving the crisis in Kiev.

Tusk was also very active at the European summit, when EU leaders were deciding on Europe's response to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

"This won't be elections about the banking union or who gets more money in the EU," Tusk said at the party convention on 22 April. "It is about the core of our European history; we will decide whether Europe will survive." One of the guests at the convention was Ukrainian boxer and political leader Vitali Klitschko.

PiS is trying to steer the campaign back to domestic politics, but without success.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski wanted to hold a debate with Tusk and experts on the health service, but the PM turned his offer down.

The opposition accuses Tusk of frightening voters with the threat of war. In one of his speeches, the PM said that we do not know whether "children will go to school this autumn".

"No one went that far in scaring Poles," said Leszek Miller, the leader of the left-wing SLD, which is third in the polls with 10 percent support.

"But Europe's real problems are somewhere else. They are high unemployment, the lack of perspectives for young people, growing poverty and rising euroscepticism," he added.

But while recent polls show that PO is back in the game, it does not mean that the ruling party will definitely win.

The campaign will be hard fought, as the margin in the polls between the main competitors, PiS and PO, is still very small.

Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'

Ukraine and a looming economic recession is set to dominate the upcoming Swedish EU presidency, which takes over at the start of next year. Sweden's ambassador to the EU, Lars Danielsson, laid out some of its priorities.

French official accused of conflict over EU fish lobby job

A senior French official is being accused of conflicts of interest for spearheading a leading role in Europeche, a fishing-industry lobby group based in Brussels. The hire comes as the EU Commission threatens a lawsuit against France over fishing.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  2. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  3. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  4. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  5. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  6. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  7. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  8. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us