Polish Foreign Policy Monitoring

We formed a task force in early 2016 with a goal to monitor and reflect upon the Polish foreign policy. The task force consists of individuals who are active in a range of think tanks and non-governmental organisations: Adam Balcer (WiseEuropa), Piotr Buras (European Council on Foreign Relations, Warsaw Office), Grzegorz Gromadzki (Stefan Batory Foundation) and Eugeniusz Smolar (Centre of International Relations). The group will report quarterly.

We established the task force because the situation in and around Poland has been changing quite considerably with serious consequences for the foreign policy pursued by the Government and the President. The plan announced by the ruling Law and Justice to make a thorough policy review in Poland, known as 'the Good Change', covers also the country's foreign policy, particularly towards to the EU. Needless to say, the alternative concept of Poland derives from a different perception of the world and Europe. We are witnesses to the most profound redirection of foreign policy over the past quarter-century. This is happening at the time of the Poland's international environment becoming shakier, the European Union going through a series of crises and aggressive Russian politics destabilising Eastern Europe which has caused serious concerns in the countries of NATO and EU eastern flank. The global economic situation is still volatile and the 2008 crisis may replay. Inside Poland, we are moving further and further away from the pre-2004 consensus around major foreign policy goals i.e. anchoring Poland in major Western structures, first the NATO, then the EU. Today, political elites are deeply divided over a number of issues, including the future of the EU. There are some who began questioning the benefits of the EU membership.

Report: The Minsk (dis)agreement and Europe's security order, Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, Piotr Buras
English version [PDF 170 KB]
Polish version [PDF 170 KB]
The conflict in Donbass is part of a much bigger confrontation, namely Russia's attempt to challenge the security order in Europe. Therefore, sanctions against Moscow should be presented as a mechanism aimed at preserving peace and stability on the continent. The EU has to reject the illusion that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements is possible and will lead to peace in Eastern Ukraine - claim Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz and Piotr Buras in our recent report  The Minsk (dis)agreement and Europe’s security order.

Policy paper:
Prepare for a new Europe, Piotr Buras
English version [PDF 150 KB]
Polish version [PDF 135 KB]
Amid internal crises (the euro, the wave of populism) and external challenges (Russian policy, the influx of refugees), the European Union must take on the new challenge of finding an appropriate response to changes in US policy initiated by Donald Trump which may have long-term effects for Europe. In a commentary of the Stefan Batory Foundation, Piotr Buras, the director of the ECFR’s Warsaw office and an expert on the EU and Germany, shows how the main paradigms of European integration are changing and what dilemmas their new shape surfaces for the EU and Poland.

Policy paper: A farewell to Giedroyc,
Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz

English version [PDF 107 KB]

Russian version [PDF 265 KB]
Polish version [PDF 110 KB]

Report: Polish views of the EU: the illusion of consensus, Adam Balcer, Piotr Buras, Grzegorz Gromadzki, Eugeniusz Smolar
English version [PDF 215 KB]
Polish version [PDF 276 KB]

In May 2016 the Stefan Batory Foundation published a report entitled Change in Poland, but what change? on the far-reaching changes in Poland’s foreign policy, particularly the European policy, that were introduced by the Law and Justice Party (PiS) government after winning the elections in October 2015. There is no reason to re-evaluate that judgement now.
In the new report, entitled Polish views of the EU: the illusion of consensus, the authors evaluate the level of support for the European Project. They have examined it not from the perspective of the Polish public’s overwhelming support for EU membership (which runs at a constant 75-80%), but they have closely analysed the inward-looking Polish political culture, the high level of ‘nativism’ and mistrust of the Other, as well as the Polish people’s attitude towards several selected, highly controversial issues such as migration, adopting a common currency, and deeper economic and political integration. The authors have come to the conclusion that the PiS government’s foreign policy, particularly its European policy, is to a greater extent aligned with the views of a large number of the citizens than that of the liberal pro-European opposition parties.
Therefore, there is a need to convince Poles once again of the merits of the European Union – this time not to join it, but to encourage a deeper qualitative presence of Poland in a united Europe.

Report: How do you avoid others talking over your head? Poland’s approach to Russia at a time of confrontation, Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz
English version [PDF 166 KB]
Polish version [PDF 190 KB]

Report: Change in Poland, but what change?, Adam Balcer, Piotr Buras, Grzegorz Gromadzki, Eugeniusz Smolar
English version [PDF 163 KB]
Polish version [PDF 194 KB]
The first of the reports is entitled “Change in Poland, but what change? Assumptions of Law and Justice party foreign policy” and it explores the underlying ideology of the Law and Justice's foreign policy, mainly in the European context. Furthermore, it outlines the key areas of foreign policy redirection in Poland.


Adam Balcer (1976), political scientist, researcher at the Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw. Director of the EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy program in the demosEUROPACentre of European Strategy in 2010-2013. Analyst of Balkan affairs at the Centre for Eastern Studies in 2001–2009; formerly manager of its Turkey after the Launch of Accession Negotiations: Foreign Policy and Internal Situation project.

Piotr Buras
(1974), Director of the Warsaw Office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Formerly worked for the Centre for International Relations in Warsaw, the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Willy Brandt Centre of the University of Wrocław. Piotr has regularly written for the Gazeta Wyborcza daily and is an expert on German affairs.

Grzegorz Gromadzki
(1963), expert at the Stefan Batory Foundation, columnist. He worked in the international desk of Gazeta Wyborcza and in the Centre for Eastern Studies in Warsaw. His areas of expertise include Eastern Europe and EU affairs. Author of many publications on Eastern Europe, including Niebezpieczna gra. Władza wobec społeczeństwa w Rosji 2014 (Warsaw 2014), Eastern Partnership Revisited. Associated Countries in Focus (with Bastian Sendhardt, Warsaw 2015).

Eugeniusz Smolar
(1945), contributor to the Polish Institute of International Studies, expert and former president of the Center for International Relations. In 2009-2013, chair of the programme board of the Polish-Czech Forum under the auspices of the Polish Foreign Minister. Former Programming Director of the Polish Radio.

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