This book examines the first five years of Polish EU membership. The combination of Poland’s potential power as a major, and possibly controversial, player in both the region and Europe as a whole, and the apparent salience of Euroscepticism in domestic electoral politics at the core of the Polish government and party system presented the possibility that Poland would be a ‘new awkward partner’ in Europe. However, although Poles may have voted for EU-critical parties in large numbers no ‘Eurosceptic backlash’ has emerged. In fact, far from being a ‘new awkward partner’, Poland has tried to portray itself as the ‘new heart of Europe’ and it certainly came to be increasingly perceived as such in Brussels and by its European allies.
This book focuses on two linked questions. Firstly, what impact has Poland had upon the EU as a new member state? Secondly, how has becoming an EU member impacted upon public attitudes towards the EU and Polish domestic politics, particularly on its party and electoral politics? Szczerbiak provides the first detailed empirical case study of the impact of Poland’s EU membership on its politics and of Poland's impact on the EU. The book also makes broader theoretical contributions to our understanding of EU relations with its member states.
As a result of the above, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of European Politics, political science and European integration.
'The study is a valuable additionto comparative studies as well as to regional integration, and the book is recommended for both of these areas of political science study. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate, graduate, and research collection.' - Choice, May 2012
''a very balanced, well-written and interesting analysis of Polish-EU dilemmas..' - Wojciech Gagatek, University of Warsaw, Eastern European Politics Journal
Introduction: Why Does Poland Matter to the EU and the EU Matter to Poland? 1. Returning to Europe: The Political and Economic Context of Polish EU Membership 2. A New European Player? Poland’s Policy Impact as a New EU Member 3. Looking Eastwards: Poland’s Impact on the EU’s Eastern Policy 4. Eurosceptics, Europhiles or Eurorealists? Polish Public Attitudes Towards the EU in the Post-Accession Period 5. (Not) A Re-aligning Issue? The (Non-)Impact of EU Membership on Party Politics in Poland. Conclusion: New Awkward Partner or New Heart of Europe?