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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Rallying-round-the-Flag: The Polish Response to the EU Rule of Regulation Proceedings

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The current anti-democratic reforms in Poland and Hungary are a matter of nice concern to many Europeans. The actions of the Polish Regulation and Justice Get together (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, hereafter “PiS”) and the Hungarian Fidesz not solely query the fundamental foundations of the European Union (EU), but additionally the functioning of democracy itself. After the tip of the Chilly Conflict, Fukuyama (1989) predicted “the tip of historical past” and declared the victory of liberal democracy. The developments previously few years, nonetheless, have proven that democracy should be protected to prevail.

Portraying itself as a union based on democratic ideas, democratic backsliding threatens the EU’s foundational values and thereby its credibility. PiS and Fidesz would possibly function examples of populist events in different EU member states (MS). Therefore, the EU should counter backsliding makes an attempt and develop efficient instruments to take action. As Niklewicz (2017) places it: “If [the EU’s founding values, principles and rules] are uncared for, then the entire European venture is nugatory“ (p. 287).

PiS has succeeded in rolling again many essential elements of Polish democracy. It has taken management over the media and thereby decreased the independence of elections. Additional, civil society has been weakened via smear campaigns in opposition to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and an absence of public consultations (Freedom Home, 2016; Freedom Home, 2018). The reforms within the area of the rule of legislation, nonetheless, are essentially the most hanging and in addition the one facet wherein PiS has been extra profitable than Fidesz (Bakke & Sitter, 2020). Previously seven years, the independence of the Polish judiciary has decreased considerably with the federal government successfully controlling the Constitutional Courtroom and the judicial oversight organ (Freedom Home, 2017). After the expertise of democratic backsliding in Hungary, the EU has developed the brand new Rule of Regulation Framework (RLF), which permits for countering backsliding makes an attempt in a extra structured method. The framework’s first initiation in Poland led to a year-long dispute between the EU and the Polish authorities. The truth that the dispute remains to be ongoing and the PiS remains to be in energy, poses the query of the framework’s success in countering PiS’ anti-democratic reforms.

Doable solutions for the (lack of) success might be discovered within the literature on reactions to outdoors interventions. Analysis reveals that criticism of an entire group, just like the Polish nation, by a cultural outsider, i.e. the EU, can result in undesirable results (Portela, 2020; Sedelmeier, 2017; Snyder, 2019). If the federal government is profitable in shifting the blame for issues to the intervener, the nation feels attacked from the skin strengthening its feeling of belonging collectively. This will increase the help for its leaders presenting themselves as defending the group in opposition to the skin aggressor. This so-called “rally-round-the-flag impact” (subsequently “rally-effect”) was first launched by Mueller (1970), who utilized it to the recognition of United States presidents following worldwide crises. Students appear to agree that outdoors interventions, resembling sanctions, are a fragile matter and sometimes instigate a rally impact (Galtung, 1967; Portela, 2020).

Concerning the RLF, the state of the analysis is much less clear. On the one hand, Sedelmeier (2017) states that home backlash is much less probably for social strain than for materials sanctions (p. 344). He means that on account of its formality, transparency, flexibility, and impartiality the framework is much less prone to result in elevated public help for the federal government. Alternatively, Niklewicz (2017) factors out that the framework was ineffective in stopping backsliding in Poland. Furthermore, Schlipphak and Treib (2017) show that the Austrian (2000-2002) and Hungarian (2010) governments have been in a position to instigate the rally impact as a response to the EU’s criticism. They lengthen their findings to the Polish case and argue that each one parts essential for turning across the narrative and acquiring the inhabitants’s help are current within the Polish case (p. 361). Their conclusion, nonetheless, is likely to be untimely and outdated provided that their article was printed earlier than the tip of the framework’s utility to Poland. To date, no elaborate analysis has been carried out making use of the rally impact to the case of democratic backsliding in Poland.

To shut this hole, this thesis goals to reply the query: did the Polish authorities achieve instigating the rally impact as a response to the Fee’s use of the RLF? Making use of a process-tracing methodology, I discover that the Polish authorities was profitable in portraying the EU intervention as a menace to the Polish nation as a complete however was unable to impress a rally impact.

This thesis begins with an summary of the historic growth of the EU-Poland rule of legislation dispute. Subsequently, earlier literature and the important thing ideas are mentioned. After a top level view of the theoretical framework and methodology, the outcomes are offered. This thesis concludes with a dialogue of the findings’ implications for the EU and additional analysis.

The EU-Poland Rule of Regulation Dispute

Earlier than elaborating on earlier analysis, it’s first useful to think about the historic context. The Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s (CT) essential job is to manage the constitutionality of legal guidelines and thereby management the legislative. If the CT declares a sure provision to be in opposition to the structure, this provision turns into void. Nonetheless, this primary requires the federal government to publish the courtroom’s ruling. CT judges are elected by parliament and sworn in by the president (Bucholc, 2016).

These institutional options are important to grasp the rule of legislation disaster that unfolded in Poland in 2015. The outdated authorities had launched a brand new legislation, which allowed it to elect 5 new CT judges to interchange these judges whose phrases would finish shortly after the change in authorities. President Duda, affiliated with PiS, refused to swear in these judges with out ready for the CT’s judgement on the legality of the newly-introduced legislation. As an alternative, he took the oath from 5 different judges who have been elected by the brand new PiS parliamentary majority (Bucholc, 2016). Furthermore, the federal government handed a legislation paralysing the CT’s work, politicised appointments to public media and fired many senior civil servants in public establishments (Freedom Home, 2016). This led to a stalemate wherein the federal government refused to publish the CT judgements and the CT refused to observe the legal guidelines relating to its functioning and composition that it had itself declared illegal (Bucholc, 2016).

In 2014, the EU developed a brand new RLF to counter democratic backsliding makes an attempt (European Fee, 2014). The brand new mechanism permits for extra formal communication between the Fee and the MS that’s supposedly breaching the basic values of the Union; even when the dearth of unanimity within the European Council doesn’t enable for the initiation of the process prescribed within the EU treaties (Sedelmeier, 2017, p. 340). The framework consists of three levels and serves as an early-warning instrument (European Fee, 2020). First, the Fee assesses whether or not there’s a systematic menace to the rule of legislation. It points an opinion on the matter to which the federal government involved can reply. Second, the Fee publishes suggestions for concrete measures to be carried out within the MS. Third, the Fee displays the implementation of the suggestions and might probably suggest the usage of Artwork. 7 TEU (Sedelmeier, 2017, p. 345).

The Polish case is the primary utility of this new framework. Nonetheless, it has not prevented the PiS authorities from repeatedly breaching EU legislation (Niklewicz, 2017). The framework’s utility was initiated by the European Fee in January 2016 as a response to the legislation in regards to the appointment of judges to the Polish CT, which had been handed by PiS in December 2015. In March 2016, the Polish CT itself declared this legislation illegal. Nonetheless, the courtroom’s determination was not printed and over time the judges of the CT have been changed. The Venice Fee of the Council of Europe (CoE) confirmed the European Fee’s concern in March 2016 by stating that the Polish reforms threaten the fundamental ideas of the CoE: democracy, human rights and rule of legislation (European Fee, 2017). Consequently, in June 2016, the European Fee issued a proper opinion on the matter. In July 2016, it triggered step two of the framework and printed three suggestions on the subject. These suggestions involved the dearth of an impartial constitutional overview and laws relating to courtroom organisation that threatens the judiciary’s independence (European Fee, 2017; Kelemen, 2017, p. 229). In July 2017, the Fee introduced that it was able to launch an Artwork. 7 procedures and a basic infringement process in opposition to Poland. In August 2017, PiS formally dismissed the Fee’s opinion and questioned the EU’s competencies to determine over Poland. In December 2017, the Council mentioned a proposal to find out a transparent threat of a critical breach of the rule of legislation in Poland and initiated the Artwork. 7 procedures (European Fee, 2017). Having understood how the disagreement on the appointment of CT judges led the EU to provoke the RLF, it’s now time to overview the present literature on democratic backsliding and the backlash to exterior interference (in Poland) and to introduce the rally impact.

Earlier Analysis

Democratic Backsliding

As this analysis is anxious with democratic backsliding, it is very important first outline the time period democracy. Students have used many various definitions of this time period. Whereas minimalists merely outline democracy as a regime the place rulers are elected (Przeworski, 2003), I perceive democracy as a liberal democracy. Merkel (2018) defines liberal democracy as being characterised by (1) political rights, resembling freedom of expression, affiliation and meeting, (2) checks and balances, the separation of powers between the legislature, the manager, and the judiciary, and (3) the accountability of elected officers (pp. 7-11). This definition combines democracy, rule of legislation and human rights, three basic values of the EU, and is, due to this fact, suited for use in an evaluation of the EU RLF.

Nonetheless, Merkel’s definition is against the definition of democracy employed by Japanese European populists. Hungarian president Orbán coined the time period intolerant democracy rejecting the significance of constitutional restraints (Krastev, 2018, p. 56) and giving absolute energy to the federal government (Vachudova, 2020, p. 327). PiS makes use of an identical definition of democracy and notably stresses the significance of elections (Sejm, 2016b). This mismatch between the definitions employed by the EU and Poland is essential for the evaluation. This thesis makes use of Merkel’s definition as a result of it goals to analyse the developments in Poland from the EU’s perspective.

Democratic backsliding is a equally broad time period. Bakke and Sitter (2020) outline democratic backsliding as “a strategy of deliberate, supposed motion designed to progressively undermine the basic guidelines of the sport in an present democracy, carried out by a democratically elected authorities” (p. 2). It’s due to this fact essential to emphasize that the end result of the method is open-ended. A regime change can occur or not (p. 3). Furthermore, at the very least one of many three dimensions of liberal democracy talked about by Merkel should be attacked (p. 3). Making use of this definition, Bakke and Sitter (2020) present that the Polish case might be categorized as democratic backsliding as a result of the Polish reforms have essentially modified how the Polish state features and thereby represent a major transfer away from democracy (Bakke & Sitter, 2020, p. 3). Having outlined the ideas of democracy and democratic backsliding, it’s now potential to think about the present literature on the backlash to exterior interference.

The Rally-Spherical-The-Flag Impact

Earlier than creating the causal mechanism, it’s useful to think about earlier analysis performed on the backlash to exterior interference and introduce the idea of the rally impact. Most students agree that criticism of an entire group by cultural outsiders can result in undesirable results (Galtung, 1967; Portela, 2020; Sedelmeier, 2017; Snyder, 2019). That is the case when worldwide human rights teams denounce home practices (Snyder, 2019) and when states impose sanctions (Portela, 2020). By attacking a nation’s pleasure or lowering the inhabitants’s residing commonplace, exterior interference evokes anger and resistance from the focused group because it fears for its autonomy and safety. The federal government can then current itself as defending the group in opposition to outdoors aggressors and rising home help for its insurance policies (Snyder, 2019).

This principle is called the “rally-round-the-flag impact” and was first proposed by Mueller (1970) in an evaluation of US presidents’ public help. He defined that “sure intense worldwide occasions generate a ‘rally around the flag’ impact which tends to improve the President’s recognition score” (p. 21). Subsequently, the entire nation should be involved which is generally the case for worldwide occasions (p. 21). An analogous definition has been utilized by Perrin and Smolek (2009) and Dinesen and Jæger (2013). Within the face of a disaster, the media notably focuses on this matter, and polarisation decreases, because the opposition helps the federal government to resolve the disaster whereas massive elements of the society really feel nervousness and lack of safety (Turska-Kawa et al., 2022, p. 22). Because of this, a stronger collective id emerges and belief in public establishments will increase (Dinesen & Jæger, 2013).

The impact has been utilized to US presidents’ recognition, home help for political establishments after terror assaults (i.e. Perrin & Smolek, 2009; Dinesen & Jæger, 2013) and democratically backsliding international locations (Schlipphak & Treib, 2017). Schlipphak and Treib (2017) show that democratic backsliding will not be a purely inside course of, nevertheless it triggers reactions from outdoors actors notably when the nation is an MS of the EU. In its exterior dimension, democratic backsliding is, thus, inextricably linked to the rally impact. Cianciara (2018) examined the methods that helped the Polish authorities to acquire home help of their dispute with the EU. Nonetheless, the rally impact has not but been explicitly examined for the case of democratic backsliding in Poland – a spot which is closed by this thesis. Utilizing the theoretical lens of the rally impact reveals how the usage of language is linked to public help for the federal government. Additional, it permits me to concentrate on how democratic backsliding is justified and the way the totally different actors painting their actions.

The Backlash to the EU’s Interference in Poland

Earlier analysis on democratic backsliding in Poland, the EU-Poland dispute and its reference to public opinion give indications of what findings to count on. Firstly, the EU initiated the RLF because of the lack of other instruments, the need to stop an identical scenario as in Hungary and beneficial get together politics (Kelemen, 2017; Niklewicz, 2017). Niklewicz (2017) argues that the Artwork. 7 process was initially not supposed for conditions the place governments intentionally backslide and in addition the RLF will not be taken significantly by the Polish authorities (pp. 285-286). Secondly, a number of explanations can be found to elucidate why Poland was the primary utility of the framework. Regardless of its introduction in 2014, when democratic backsliding in Hungary was nonetheless at its peak, the framework was not initiated in opposition to Hungary. The primary cause for that is Fidesz’s membership within the influential European Individuals’s Get together whereas PiS is just a member of the much less essential European Conservatives and Reformists Group (Kelemen, 2017). Thirdly, PiS needed to disregard the Polish structure for its reforms, whereas Fidesz’s supermajority allowed for constitutional change and therefore compliance with the structure. Thus, the Fee was presumably met with comparatively weak opposition to initiating the framework as a response to Polish backsliding makes an attempt.

Students disagree on how earlier analysis might be translated to the applying of the brand new RLF. Sedelmeier (2017) means that on account of its formal, clear, versatile, and neutral set-up, the framework is much less prone to result in a rally impact. Nonetheless, Niklewicz (2017) finds that the framework was ineffective in stopping backsliding in Poland. Schlipphak and Treib (2017) establish a rally impact in two comparable instances and recommend that each one three parts essential to shift the blame to the EU are current within the Polish case.

Whether or not PiS succeeds in shifting the blame to the EU largely will depend on its technique. Cianciara (2018) claims that PiS pursued primarily a method of escalation earlier than the EU’s launch of the Artwork. 7 process (December 2017). PiS had no intention to resolve the battle with the Fee however centered on securing the help of home voters (Cianciara, 2018, p. 61). Concurrently, it pursued a method of de-escalation in its interactions with the EU. This technique consisted of explaining the intentions of the federal government and trying to persuade different MS to veto the Fee’s actions. Nonetheless, this technique solely grew to become extra obvious after December 2017 and the escalation technique prevailed throughout the implementation of the RLF (Cianciara, 2018, p. 64). PiS’ concentrate on securing home votes is in step with the rally impact’s declare that exterior interference permits the federal government to extend its public help.

Poles’ Janus-faced perspective in direction of the EU makes it troublesome to foretell how the Polish authorities’s methods are mirrored in public opinion. Krastev (2018) highlights the paradox that “Japanese Europeans are among the many most pro-EU publics on the continent, but they vote for a number of the most Euroskeptical governments” (p. 52). He explains this with Poland’s reliance on EU funds but additionally the historic trauma of overseas invasion, insecurity on account of Russian annexations within the neighbourhood and a demographic panic aggravated by the refugee disaster. Krastev (2018) and Cianciara (2018) each spotlight PiS’ continued help within the inhabitants which stands in opposition to the truth that PiS misplaced the senate within the 2019 elections (Freedom Home, 2020).

The query arises as to how express a change in public opinion could be. Mueller (1970) explains that crises solely instigate the rally impact if they’re intense and sudden. The consequences of progressively creating occasions on public opinion won’t be that clear and never end in a sudden peak in help for the federal government. Because the EU framework is a moderately gradual and prolonged course of (it took 1,5 years from the primary opinion till the publication of the Fee’s suggestions), there won’t be an express peak in public help.

The Causal Mechanism

Having outlined earlier analysis on the backlash to exterior interference (in Poland), it’s now potential to derive the causal mechanism for the method tracing. To have the ability to establish whether or not a rally impact has taken place in Poland, it is very important operationalise the totally different steps of the method from the trigger (democratic backsliding) to the end result (potential change in public help). Determine 1 reveals the causal mechanism. The operationalisation is summarised in Desk 1.

Determine 1. Visualisation of the method (Writer’s interpretation)
Theoretical mechanism Predicted observable manifestations
(1) Democratic backsliding Undermining judicial independence
Unilateral modifications within the scope, remit and competence of the constitutional courtroom or decrease courts
Guidelines and procedures for judicial overview
Procedures for appointing judges
Personnel purges
Ignoring or unconstitutionally overturning courtroom rulings
Suspending the structure
(2) EU interpretation of judicial reforms Home allies: developing intervention as bettering the scenario of suppressed home teams that had requested for assist
Target market: complete nation or precise offenders?
Open, impartial, and neutral evaluation of the scenario
(3) Polish authorities shifts blame to the EU Claims of illegitimacy, sovereignty, double requirements
Downplay the relevance of worldwide criticisms
Current home political opponents as traitors following the EU
(4) Enhance in Polish public help for the nationwide authorities Opposition to the EU motion
Assist for the governing get together
Ranges of belief in EU/ home establishments/ authorities
Eurosceptic sentiments among the many inhabitants
Desk 1. Operationalisation of the method (Writer’s interpretation based mostly on Bakke & Sitter (2020), Dinesen & Jæger (2013) and Schlipphak & Treib (2017)).

Concerning step one, the identification of democratic backsliding, this analysis utilises standards for democratic backsliding associated to rule of legislation established by Bakke and Sitter (2020, p. 4). In response to their analysis, judicial independence might be undermined in a number of methods: altering the scope and competencies of courts, altering procedures relating to judicial overview and the administration of justice in addition to disregarding judgements or suspending the structure.

Regarding the second step, the EU’s language used throughout the initiation of the RLF, Schlipphak and Treib (2017) spotlight methods that might assist the EU to stop backsliding international locations from shifting the blame: the EU ought to search home allies and current the intervention as having the purpose of supporting regionally suppressed teams. The intervention ought to goal particular people moderately than your entire nation and the scenario within the backsliding state should be assessed transparently and objectively (pp. 361-362). The EU’s potential failure to deal with these elements whereas developing the initiation would possibly clarify the Polish authorities’s success.

Within the third step, the Polish authorities would possibly shift the blame to the EU. Dinesen and Jæger’s (2013) definition highlights the significance of language. Residents don’t solely present help for his or her governments in crises however certainly in conditions constructed as crises. Therefore, the presentation of the occasion is important. Schlipphak and Treib (2017) have elaborated on three parts that enable the focused authorities to shift the blame to outsiders: the federal government should be capable of assemble the exterior interference as (1) being an exterior menace, (2) having detrimental results on the entire nation and (3) being illegitimate (p. 360). Claims of illegitimacy, assaults on sovereignty, the applying of double requirements and presenting home political opponents as traitors following the EU would possibly point out the profitable use of language by the Polish authorities (Schlipphak & Treib, 2017).

The fourth step, a rise in public help for the Polish authorities, might be measured utilizing ranges of belief within the EU and home establishments together with the nationwide authorities and particularly help for the governing get together (Dinesen & Jæger, 2013). To reply the analysis query, the following chapter outlines the principle options of the process-tracing methodology.


This chapter begins with a justification of the design selection. It then continues with a definition of course of tracing and explains the selection of sources and timeframe. This analysis is deductive and goals to check the rally-effect principle by making use of it to Poland. It’s a single qualitative case examine inspecting the case of democratic backsliding in Poland. Poland is an distinctive case because it is without doubt one of the two democratically backsliding EU MS (Bakke & Sitter, 2020) and the primary MS to be topic to the RLF. Therefore, it’s notably fascinating whether or not Schlipphak and Treib’s (2017) findings relating to the rally impact in Austria and Hungary might be generalised to the Polish case regardless of the brand new authorized measure. The truth that the Polish PiS get together misplaced the senate in 2019 (Freedom Home, 2020), opposite to the Austrian and Hungarian governments’ electoral victories following their dispute with the EU, would possibly point out that PiS was much less profitable at instigating the rally impact.

This analysis follows Schlipphak and Treib (2017) of their determination to make use of a process-tracing methodology as a substitute of the quantitative methodologies typically employed in comparable analysis (Dinesen & Jæger, 2013; Hatuel-Radoshitzky & Yarchi, 2022; Mueller, 1970; Perrin & Smolek, 2009). Course of tracing is comparably higher suited to analyze how the usage of language contributes to the rally impact because it permits for the mixed use of public opinion information and speeches. One other benefit is the methodology’s skill to “check the explanatory worth of a given principle” (De Ville et al., forthcoming, p. 1). Bennett and Checkel (2014) outline course of tracing as “the evaluation of proof on processes, sequences, and conjunctures of occasions inside a case” (p. 7). Course of tracing is very helpful as a result of it helps to determine causality between the trigger (democratic backsliding) and the end result (potential change in public help) (De Ville et al., forthcoming, p. 6).

The next information is used to watch the manifestations predicted within the operationalisation: step one of the evaluation is constructed on secondary literature. Official EU statements, retrieved from the Fee’s web site, are analysed within the second step of the method. Speeches given by Szydło and Kaczyński have been retrieved from the Sejm web site and the Multimedia Centre of the European Parliament. Surprisingly, solely three related speeches have been delivered by members of the Polish authorities on the Sejm. These speeches have been translated utilizing the net instrument DeepL, whose reliability is more and more recognised by students (DeMattee et al., 2022; Takakusagi et al., 2021; Zulfiqar et al., 2018), after which cross-checked by a Polish native speaker. The fourth a part of the evaluation makes use of the next public opinion polls to indicate modifications in public help: Customary Eurobarometer 84-88, OECD belief in authorities indicator and CBOS surveys from February 2016 to Could 2017. Total, quantitative and qualitative proof from numerous sources is mixed to triangulate the outcomes and improve the analysis’s reliability.

This analysis focuses on the interval from December 2015 till August 2017. December 2015 is the beginning of the method as a result of the PiS get together handed a legislation in regards to the appointment of judges to the Polish Constitutional Tribunal. As a response to this, the RLF was initiated (Niklewicz, 2017, p. 282). In August 2017, PiS formally dismissed the Fee’s opinion (p. 284). Although this was not the tip of the dispute between the EU and Poland on the rule of legislation, it appears an acceptable endpoint for the method tracing as a result of it signifies the ending of the RLF. In December 2017 the Fee initiated the Artwork. 7 process (Timmermans, 2017b) marking the beginning of a brand new chapter within the EU-Poland dispute, which isn’t coated on this thesis.


Democratic Backsliding

The evaluation follows the 4 steps of the method outlined within the methodology chapter. Having received the presidential elections in Could 2015 and the parliamentary elections in October 2015 (Freedom Home, 2016), the PiS get together launched a number of modifications within the Polish judicial system. Apart from a suspension of the structure, all parts undermining judicial independence recognized above are fulfilled. First, a complete of seven amendments to the functioning, composition and procedures of the CT have been launched and the foundations and process for judicial overview have been altered (Freedom Home, 2017). Second, throughout the Rule of Regulation disaster in 2015, each the outdated and the brand new authorities tried to vary procedures relating to the election of CT judges (Bucholc, 2016). The PiS get together ignored courtroom rulings by not awaiting the CT’s judgement on the matter however as a substitute prevented these judges, lawfully appointed by the earlier authorities, from beginning to work (Bucholc, 2016; European Fee, 2016).

Third, with regard to personnel purges, the reducing of the obligatory retirement age for judges led to a alternative of 40% of Supreme Courtroom judges permitting PiS to present the posts to loyal judges. In 2020, a decide who aimed to implement a judgement of the European Courtroom of Justice was suspended (Bakke & Sitter, 2020, p. 7). Fourth, courtroom rulings have been ignored or unconstitutionally overturned. For instance, the federal government ignored that the CT dominated sure amendments to a legislation on the functioning of the CT unconstitutional (Freedom Home, 2017). Furthermore, the federal government didn’t publish CT judgements stopping them from turning into legally binding (Bucholc, 2016). Nonetheless, there was no suspension of the structure and the dearth of a supermajority prevented the PiS authorities from altering the structure (Bakke & Sitter, 2020, p. 7; Freedom Home, 2016). Nonetheless, a number of key traits related to democratic backsliding within the realm of the rule of legislation might be recognized confirming Bakke and Sitter’s (2020) classification of Poland as a democratically backsliding nation within the set timeframe. That is additionally mirrored in Freedom Home’s (2020) determination to vary Poland’s classification from a consolidated to a semi-consolidated democracy.

EU Interpretation of Judicial Reforms

Having recognized that the developments in Poland can certainly be categorized as democratic backsliding, it’s now essential to analyse how the EU has reacted to the reforms. In January 2016, the EU initiated the RLF to react to the disaster in Poland (Freedom Home, 2017). Thereby, the Fee made solely restricted use of home allies to stop a rally impact. Presenting the intervention as bettering the scenario of suppressed home teams that requested for assist, would possibly forestall a rise in public governmental help (Schlipphak & Treib, 2017, p. 361). Whereas the Fee underlines that it bases its evaluation on the Polish CT’s rulings (European Fee, 2016), it refers much less to suppressed Polish teams. The reference to the CT’s judgement reveals that the Fee trusts the Polish establishments. It doesn’t need to criticise Poland as a complete however moderately assist the CT to implement its judgement for which it requires a cooperative authorities. Furthermore, the Fee stresses its cooperation with allies: “[o]ur issues are shared extensively – the Venice Fee, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the Community of the Presidents of Supreme Courts and the Councils for the Judiciary, attorneys associations and NGOs” (Timmermans, 2017a). Nonetheless, there isn’t a particular point out of Polish teams. Whereas underlining the seriousness of the Fee’s issues, the enumeration of organisations would possibly create the sensation that the entire world is united in opposition to Poland which could set off a rally impact. Therefore, the Fee is unsuccessful in integrating home Polish allies into its actions in opposition to the PiS authorities.

Official statements are addressed to “the Polish Authorities”, “the Polish authorities” or “the Polish events involved” (Timmermans, 2016). When references are made to the actions of particular individuals, their positions moderately than names are talked about: “[t]he President of the Republic has within the meantime taken the oath of all 5 judges” (European Fee, 2016). Whereas making certain impartiality and objectivity and avoiding private accusations, this handle will not be in step with Schlipphak and Treib’s (2017) suggestion to focus on the precise offenders straight as a substitute of the entire nation.

The Fee’s essential focus lies on stressing the open, impartial and neutral evaluation of the scenario. On this regard, the Fee carefully follows Schlipphak and Treib’s (2017) recommendation. Firstly, the setting of the RLF itself favours impartiality. The framework was launched in 2014, therefore, earlier than PiS was elected. Because of this, the framework was not drafted to go well with this particular scenario. The formality of the observe and the Fee’s impartiality guarantee larger legitimacy (Sedelmeier, 2017, p. 346). Secondly, the Fee’s cooperation with different worldwide organisations strengthens its place and impartiality. There may be sturdy cooperation between the European Fee and the Venice Fee of the Council of Europe (European Fee, 2016). Thirdly, the Fee’s fixed stressing of dialogue underlines its openness. Along with written declarations of being open to dialogue with the Polish authorities, Timmermans additionally made an effort to satisfy with authorities representatives in individual, for instance by visiting Warsaw on April 5 and Could 24, 2016. Moreover, the European Parliament invited the Polish prime minister Szydło to a plenary debate (European Fee, 2016).

By its use of language, the Fee highlights its impartiality and units a constructive tone for the RLF. Timmermans goals to conduct the framework in a “spirit of cooperation, not confrontation” (Multimedia Centre European Parliament, 2016). The Fee stresses that it respects Poland’s sovereignty and “doesn’t want to contain itself in a political debate in Poland [since] [p]olitical points in Poland are the enterprise of politicians in Poland, not the European Fee” (Timmermans, 2016). The tone utilized by the Fee, notably within the first few months after the initiation of the framework, is conciliatory: the Fee “encourages” and “invitations the Polish authorities to resolve the issues recognized” (European Fee, 2016). Additional, it “welcomes” (Multimedia Centre European Parliament, 2016) that the Polish authorities adopted a few of its suggestions. Later, the tone modifications barely. Timmermans doesn’t seem as optimistic and conciliatory as earlier than. He complains in regards to the Polish authorities turning across the narrative: “I simply don’t settle for individuals saying that the European Union takes away sovereignty from Poland. No, it creates a sovereignty in Poland that Poland hasn’t had for hundreds of years” (Timmermans, 2017a) and its unwillingness for dialogue: “[s]o I’ve tried actually to have this dialogue however on the opposite facet there’s apparently no want to take action” (Timmermans, 2017a).

Altogether, this reveals that the Fee pressured excessively its openness and the impartiality of the RLF. That is underlined via its conciliatory tone. Nonetheless, the Fee was neither profitable in constructing alliances with Polish teams harmed by the present scenario, nor in presenting the continuing as focusing on solely the federal government and never the Polish nation as a complete.

Shifting the Blame to the EU

Constructing on the 2 earlier sections, this part examines how the Polish authorities shifted the blame to the EU. The Polish authorities’s communication with the EU differs from its communication with the Polish public. Whereas the tone in direction of the EU is cooperative however decided, the EU’s actions are offered as a menace to the Polish individuals. Right here it is very important observe that there’s additionally a distinction in actors speaking with the Fee and the Polish individuals: whereas the EU primarily communicates with the official Polish representatives, specifically, prime minister Szydło, Poland’s de facto ruler Kaczyński determines the discourse inside Poland and shows a much less cooperative perspective (Csehi & Zgut, 2021, p. 63). This helps the findings of Cianciara (2018) holding that PiS centered on securing home votes and pursued a method of escalation throughout the RLF.

Szydło compliments the EU for its achievements and presents the EU as a task mannequin for Poland and as Poland’s future (Multimedia Centre European Parliament, 2016). The PiS authorities is open to dialogue however believes that the dispute on the Polish CT is an inside matter that must be solved inside Poland (Multimedia Centre European Parliament, 2016). Szydło repeatedly stresses the significance her authorities attributes to communication with the EU: “that is essential to me”, and “the federal government of the Republic of Poland is open to dialogue and to debate” (Multimedia Centre European Parliament, 2016). However, she doesn’t need to make investments an excessive amount of time on this dialogue both: “I don’t see any grounds for devoting so many phrases and a lot time to Polish affairs” (Multimedia Centre European Parliament, 2016).

Much like the shift within the tone of the Fee, additionally the Polish authorities’s tone turns into much less cooperative and extra disenchanted later within the course of. The PiS authorities blames the Fee for the failure of constructive cooperation as a result of it didn’t adhere to its personal requirements, particularly “objectivism (and) respect for sovereignty, subsidiarity and nationwide id” (Goulard, 2016). Cianciara‘s (2018) findings present that this growth was reversed in December 2017, when the Polish authorities tried to manage injury and keep away from an Artwork. 7 process.

The PiS get together’s imaginative and prescient for the way forward for Europe turns into obvious in a number of statements. Therein, sovereignty occupies a key position. PiS is in favour of a Europe composed of sturdy nation-states with an intergovernmental character:

Poland is, was and will probably be within the European Union … However being within the European Union is smart when you find yourself a rustic … which is revered not as a result of it agrees to the dictates of others, however as a result of it’s a associate.

(Sejm, 2016b)

Csehi and Zgut (2021) argue that Eurosceptic populism in Japanese Europe manifests itself notably via its critique of the EU’s obvious actions in opposition to nationwide sovereignty (p. 56). That is evident within the case at hand: the Fee is offered as Poland’s antagonist which desires to remove its hard-fought sovereignty: “[f]or a few years, for many years, we needed to combat for the fitting to specific our personal opinions, to construct our personal statehood. We received this, and we won’t enable it to be taken away from us” (Multimedia Centre European Parliament, 2016). Thus, whereas PiS usually respects the EU, this isn’t essentially the case for the Fee, which is portrayed as attempting to remove Poland’s sovereignty.

As talked about by Schlipphak & Treib (2017), legitimacy performs an essential position in influencing public opinion. PiS tried to shift the main target from the Polish democratic deficit to the European one (Csehi & Zgut, 2021, p. 62). PiS derives the authority for the modifications to the Polish judicial system from its victory within the elections: “[t]hese reforms to which the residents dedicated us within the elections … in democratic elections” (Sejm, 2016a). By referring to “the technocrats in Brussels” (Sejm, 2016c), Szydło contrasts PiS’ democratic mandate with the unelected Fee officers. This pertains to the idea of Eurosceptic populism, a sort of populism the place the EU is equated with the corrupt elite, which fails to characterize the individuals and is thus undemocratic (Csehi & Zgut, 2021, p. 55).

The Polish authorities intentionally makes an attempt to blur the excellence between the Polish authorities and the Polish individuals and to current the EU’s intervention as a menace to Poland as a complete. The phrases “Polish state”, “Polish authorities” and “Poland” are used interchangeably, thereby blurring the excellence: “[v]oices that are unfair, voices which decide Poland, the Polish state and in addition the Polish Authorities in an unjust method” (Multimedia Centre European Parliament, 2016). By evaluating the present scenario to historic conditions wherein Poland was “a besieged fortress” (Buras, 2017), PiS appeals to emotions of horror within the Polish inhabitants: “[w]henever there have been makes an attempt to take Polish issues outdoors the Polish residence … it has at all times ended very badly for us… From historical past one wants to attract conclusions” (Sejm, 2016a). Krastev (2018) confirms that the trauma of overseas domination is deeply rooted in Polish society (p. 55). Therefore, by presenting the Polish authorities and the Polish nation as one entity and evaluating the EU’s intervention to conditions of occupation and siege previously, PiS presents the EU’s actions as a harmful menace to all Poles.

The narrative of a menace permits the Polish authorities to indicate the need for inside unity specifically among the many totally different political events:

Are we ready, women and gents, within the face of inauspicious challenges, within the face of the matter which is most essential for Poland immediately, to be collectively, regardless of the variations to which we’re entitled, within the title of the democratic selection of the Polish individuals?

(Sejm, 2016a)

Uniting the political events within the face of exterior criticism is a primary step in additionally uniting the Polish individuals behind the Polish authorities and thereby making a rally impact.

Home political opponents who refuse to help the federal government within the matter are offered as traitors and criminals. Specifically, Kaczyński criminalises sure actions of the opposition and presents the opposition as undemocratic (wSieci, 2016). The biased media helps him to convey this message. Additional, Kaczyński portrays “home critics as ‘the worst type of Poles’, ‘traitors’ who ‘complain about Poland to Brussels’” (Csehi & Zgut, 2021, p. 61). Therefore, home political opponents are offered as traitors following the EU.

On a number of events, Polish authorities officers downplay the relevance of the EU’s criticism. Szydło blames the Fee for fallacious accusations: “Poland has been unjustly slandered and accused of one thing which doesn’t happen in our nation” (Sejm, 2016a). Kaczyński known as the Rule of Regulation mechanism a “comedy” (in Buras, 2017). The EU’s criticism is dismissed as “groundless” (Goulard, 2016) and as being “based mostly on incorrect assumptions which result in unwarranted conclusions” (Goulard, 2016).

Total, the EU’s criticism is offered as pointless interference in home Polish affairs which the Polish authorities hopes to take care of moderately rapidly. Whereas PiS makes use of a reasonable and cooperative tone in its communication with the EU, notably initially of the method, it domestically rallies the nation across the authorities and presents the EU intervention as a menace to Polish sovereignty. The subsequent step investigates whether or not the profitable blame-shifting has certainly led to a rally impact, and due to this fact, a surge in public help for the Polish authorities.

Adjustments in Public Assist

Having analysed how the Polish authorities and the European Fee portrayed the problem, it’s now potential to take a look at the potential results on public opinion. The evaluation of public opinion survey information doesn’t reveal a rally impact as clear-cut as recognized by Schlipphak and Treib (2017) within the instances of Austria and Hungary. Certainly, help charges for PiS have been comparatively steady and continued to be excessive at round 37% between the elections in October 2015 and the tip of the RLF.

Eurobarometer information reveals that from autumn 2015 to spring 2016 there was a drastic decline in optimism in regards to the route wherein Poland goes. The quantity of people that believes that the nation goes within the fallacious route continued to extend in 2016. In 2017, Poles’ optimism elevated once more (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b). Between autumn 2015 and spring 2016, there was a drastic decline in satisfaction with the way in which democracy works in Poland, afterwards, satisfaction elevated once more and in autumn 2017 the 2015 stage was reached once more (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b) regardless of the continuation of the rule of legislation disaster.

Belief in EU establishments is usually increased in Poland than belief in Polish establishments. Nonetheless, there’s at all times roughly the identical quantity of people that belief the EU as those that mistrust it (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b) displaying the polarisation of Polish society. As the important thing EU actor within the RLF, it’s notably fascinating to analyse Poles’ belief within the Fee. Within the interval of 2015 to 2017, the Fee loved usually increased ranges of belief than the EU as a complete. Belief within the Fee elevated from autumn 2015 to autumn 2016 after which barely decreased once more reaching roughly the extent it had earlier than the initiation of the RLF (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b).

Polish establishments take pleasure in a remarkably low stage of belief among the many Polish inhabitants. Concerning belief within the nationwide authorities, there’s a divergence between Eurobarometer and OECD information. Whereas Eurobarometer information shows barely any change for this indicator within the interval from 2015 to 2017 (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b), belief in authorities elevated drastically from 21% in 2015 to 50% in 2017, in keeping with OECD information (OECD, 2022). Equally, Eurobarometer information reveals even decrease ranges of belief for the nationwide parliament and the political events than for the federal government (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b). That is confirmed by CBOS’ (2016a) evaluation. Regional and native public authorities are trusted to an identical extent as EU establishments (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b). The mistrust within the judiciary elevated over time from 50% mistrust in spring 2016 to 58% mistrust in autumn 2017 (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b) offering potential proof for the success of the federal government’s smear marketing campaign in opposition to judges.

Versus Orbán, who benefitted from comparatively excessive ranges of Euroscepticism (Schlipphak & Treib, 2017, p. 359), Eurobarometer information confirms Krastev’s (2018) discovering that Poles are comparably pro-European regardless of voting for Eurosceptic governments. The truth that greater than half of the inhabitants believes that extra choices ought to be taken on the EU stage (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b) can not simply be mixed with PiS’ concentrate on sovereignty and intergovernmentalism. One issue influencing Poles’ beneficial attitudes in direction of the EU is likely to be the nation’s web beneficiary standing (Csehi & Zgut, 2021, p. 56) and the widespread perception that the EU’s voice counts on this planet (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b). CBOS information (2016c) confirms that Poles are involved in regards to the potential detrimental financial penalties the dispute with the EU may need for his or her nation. The help of a Eurosceptical authorities might be defined via Poles’ historic trauma of overseas invasion (Krastev, 2018) which makes them reluctant to surrender sovereignty in the middle of European integration.

The continued help for PiS might be primarily defined by the federal government’s inside insurance policies. The Household 500+ programme is usually welcomed by many Poles (CBOS, 2016a) and is likely to be one cause that Poles’ monetary scenario has improved barely from 2015-2017 (TNS Opinion & Social, 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017a; 2017b). Therefore, there appears to be a discrepancy between the analysis of the federal government’s inside and exterior insurance policies.

Whereas not one of the indicators mentioned above clearly signifies a rally impact, there’s express proof of the other. For instance, 1000’s protested in entrance of the Sejm after the opposition was banned from the vote on the funds and PiS misplaced three voting classes in December 2016 regardless of its parliamentary majority (Przybylski, 2016). Moreover, President Duda vetoed two legal guidelines in the summertime of 2017 (Timmermans, 2017a) which could point out disagreement inside the authorities.

Total, the info confirms CBOS’ evaluation that “extraordinarily deep divisions separate Poles” (2017b). Whereas many Poles don’t help the federal government coverage within the rule of legislation dispute (CBOS, 2016b), they welcome different insurance policies of the federal government, which balances out the impact on public opinion.


In mild of the evaluation, it’s now potential to summarise the outcomes and draw conclusions for additional analysis and policymaking. This thesis has proven that the Polish authorities was profitable in presenting the EU’s rule of legislation proceedings as a menace to the Polish nation however was unable to instigate a rally impact. Quite a few key parts of democratic backsliding are current within the Polish case: PiS launched reforms that modified how judges are appointed, resulting in a alternative of 40% of Supreme Courtroom judges and the instalment of PiS-loyal judges. The procedural guidelines of the CT have been altered, and its rulings have been ignored or just not printed stopping them from turning into legally binding. Nonetheless, versus the Hungarian case, PiS’ lack of a supermajority hindered constitutional change or suspension.

The European Fee employed a conciliatory tone all through the proceedings and pressured its openness to dialogue and impartiality. However, it was unsuccessful in (1) constructing alliances with Polish teams and (2) conveying the message that the goal of its actions will not be the Polish nation as a complete however moderately the federal government. The Polish authorities set out with a cooperative spirit in direction of the EU which later grew to become much less beneficial. Domestically, it employed a harsher tone. PiS repeatedly pressured that the Polish individuals had voted for his or her insurance policies in democratic elections and PiS, due to this fact, possessed extra legitimacy than the ‘technocratic’ Fee. PiS compelled the opposition to combat along with the federal government in opposition to the ‘exterior menace’ and portrayed these politicians who refused to take action as traitors following the EU.

Regardless of its profitable use of language, PiS was unable to instigate a rally impact. Assist for the federal government remained excessive and steady between 2015 and 2017 with none outstanding peaks. Eurobarometer information reveals a pointy decline in Poles’ satisfaction with the way in which democracy works of their nation initially of the rule of legislation proceedings. Additionally, no general anti-EU feeling developed. Belief in EU establishments is repeatedly increased than belief within the Polish authorities.

As this analysis is predicated on a single case examine, the findings can not simply be generalised to different contexts. Additional, being restricted to utilizing translated speeches decreases the understanding of the outcomes. I cross-checked my findings with the conclusions drawn by different students to extend the validity of the findings and scale back errors arising from translation. These students have been both Polish native audio system or supported by native audio system. Additional analysis ought to look into the language employed by the Polish authorities utilizing authentic Polish speeches. On this thesis, I didn’t keep in mind the totally different variables that affect public opinion. It’s as much as future quantitative research to analyze this facet of the rally impact within the Polish case. However, this thesis makes an essential contribution to the rally-round-the-flag literature, because it contrasts with Schlipphak and Treib’s (2017) findings for Austria and Hungary and falsifies their prediction for Poland. The RLF didn’t provoke a rally impact as anticipated by academia thus far. Nonetheless, given the continued EU-Poland dispute, the framework was not profitable in stopping democratic backsliding in Poland both. Policymakers may improve the effectiveness of the mechanism by placing a stronger emphasis on constructing alliances with civil society within the MS involved. Furthermore, the main target ought to be on focusing on the Polish authorities moderately than your entire Polish nation. An efficient framework to fight democratic backsliding makes an attempt is important to safeguard democracy inside the Union and preserve the EU’s exterior credibility.

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