Beata Jurkowicz, PhD, is a political scientist at the German Historical Institute Warsaw. She graduated at the University of Warsaw in International Relations. The PhD thesis, entitled “German Cultural Goods Left in Poland. The Significance for Polish-German Relations”, was completed and submitted at the Institute of Political Science of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University. She is a Team Europe expert at the Representation of the European Commission in Poland.
Euroscepticism and Democratic Opposition in Communist Poland
The aim of this analysis is to study the sources of Euroscepticism in Poland. Therefore, the author analyses democratic opposition in communist Poland in the 1980s and the influence of individual opposition groups on Polish foreign policy after the fall of communism in 1989.
After the democratic transition in the 1990s, the key role was played by politicians whose public activity had started in the Solidarity movement (Solidarność), founded in 1980. It should be emphasised that due to the geopolitical situation at that time, the opposition members focused primarily on internal problems, while Poland’s foreign affairs were only of secondary importance. However, in order to analyse the sources of Euroscepticism among Polish post-Solidarity elites, the author will study Solidarity’s stand on both domestic and foreign issues.
It should be observed that opposition in communist Poland was not ideologically uniform. The symbol of divide within the democratic opposition in communist Poland is the “Round Table,” i.e. a platform for dialogue between communist authorities, opposition leaders and the Catholic Church. During the Round Table negotiations, there emerged different views on Poland’s domestic and foreign policy. This divide was reinforced by the negative consequences of the political and economic transition after the fall of communism. Politicians who criticise the Round Table agreement either did not take part in the actual negotiations or try to diminish their own role in those events; they have a negative attitude to Poland’s membership of the EU. In contrast, those politicians who regard the Round Table negotiations as a success have a positive attitude towards Poland’s integration with the EU.
Current status and next steps
The author has conducted comparative analysis of politicians’ statements made in the media, their parties’ platforms, political declarations, and their influence on public opinion. During the next stage of the project, the author will conduct interviews with former politicians, who were active in politics in the 1980s.