Programs completed

Open Europe

Diplomacy falls not only in the domain of governments but of citizens as well. Citizens can be the co-architects of the relations with other nations. In an era of growing isolationism and nationalism in Europe and in Poland citizens ought to actively engage in building international relations based on mutual respect and understanding.

The Open Europe programme of the Batory Foundations seeks to:

  • Overcome negative stereotypes between Poland and its neighbours, mainly Russians and Ukrainians;
  • Initiate debates about Poland’s strategic interests on the international arena and best ways to pursue them;
  • Present opinions of independent Polish experts on issues that are critical for our country on the EU forum;
  • Promote the understanding of Poland’s international links and their importance for our prosperity and security.

In 2017 we carry out the following projects:

  • The Poland-Ukraine Forum – debates between Polish and Ukrainian politicians, civil society activists and experts on topics important for Ukraine, Poland and Europe.

The last two decades have brought huge, and mostly positive, changes in Polish-Ukrainian relations. However, the intensity of mutual contacts has decreased recently; regular meetings are no longer held between Polish and Ukrainian communities and fewer and fewer important discussions are taking place. This is due to a decline in Poland’s interest in its eastern neighbour as it entered European structures as well as its disillusionment with the developments in Ukraine. The Forum strives to reverse these trends and to revive contacts between representatives of intellectual, political and cultural elites in both countries.

The Forum brings together politicians, experts, NGO activists, journalists and opinion leaders from Poland and Ukraine. Regular meetings enable the exchange of ideas and opinions, help to improve the understanding of the situations in both countries and promote stronger ties between representatives of both nations. The discussions held within the framework of the Forum go beyond bilateral relations and focus on issues that are relevant for both countries: internal matters as well as international politics and global challenges. Within the Forum, smaller meetings are also held which involve experts and specialists in the subject at hand.

The Forum is accompanied by public debates and conferences attended by Forum participants.

In 2017 The Polish-Ukrainian Dialogue Group was created. The group gathers experts who have been involved in the cooperation between our countries for many years. The Group is a grassroots, non-governmental initiative whose primary goal is to formulate constructive solutions to the problems in relations between Poland and Ukraine in the new geopolitical situation.

  • PL-RU Club – meetings of journalists, researchers and young civic activists from Poland and Russia to discuss contemporary issues in domestic and international politics.

The PL-RU Club is a platform which facilitates the exchange of ideas among the young generation of Polish and Russian experts, journalists and activists. Members of the club include political scientists, sociologists and economists as well as historians of ideas and cultural anthropologists. The discussions held during the meetings promote the knowledge and understanding of the Polish and Russian ways of looking at important domestic and international policy issues and also help to overcome divisions, prejudices and stereotypes.

Our ambition is to encourage participants to keep in touch outside of meetings as well as to exchange opinions and argue in both electronic and traditional media. We want to inspire dialogue between Polish and Russian members so that activities of the club are not limited to regular meetings but rather create an area for lively discussions and joint projects.

  • Talks with the Neighbours– meetings with experts, politicians, columnists from countries of the Eastern neighbourhood to address sensitive topics that are crucial for our mutual understanding.

We participated in the debate on EU and Polish foreign policy towards the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Russia. Independently, and in partnership with other institutions, we organized conferences, seminars, and meetings devoted to the political and economic situation of specific countries of the Eastern Partnership as well as the process of bringing them closer to the European Union.

  • Analytical Reports: Poland in an Open Europe – Analytical reviews of Poland’s international position   presenting the Polish perspective on European issues, including recommended actions.

We develop analytical reviews of Poland’s international situation, presenting the Polish perspective on European issues and formulating recommendations for action.
We work with a group of independent experts and analysts from international affairs think tanks including: Adam Balcer from WiseEuropa, Piotr Buras from the European Council on Foreign Relations’ (ECFR) Warsaw Office, Grzegorz Gromadzki and Eugeniusz Smolar from the Centre for International Affairs.

Report: In a clinch – The European policy of the PiS government, Adam Balcer, Piotr Buras, Grzegorz Gromadzki, Eugeniusz Smolar
English version [PDF]
Polish version [PDF]
The authors examined the Law and Justice (PiS) government’s European policy in the scope of recent developments in the European Union and indicated its likely influence on the position of Poland inside the Union. Among the key problems in the PiS government’s European and foreign policy is the fact that they ideologise them to the extreme and that they lack cohesion in their practical implementation. This is caused by the decision-making structure which is centred outside the government on the person of Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of PiS, and by the rivalry among different centres of power.

Policy memo: A normative crisis: the need to protect democratic values in Europe, Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz

English version [PDF 289 KB]

A policy memo outlining the reform proposal of European financial mechanisms aimed at providing for an effective response to the crisis of values within the Community. We call for an urgent reaction to the increasingly common undermining of fundamental democratic values not only in the public discourse but also in several Member States’ activity. It is worrisome that despite of this, more funding is directed to promoting European values in third countries than within the EU.

Report: A normative empire in crisis – time for a politics of values, Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz

English version [PDF]
Polish version [PDF]
The “ideological civil war” in the European Union is ongoing. Statements made by the new French president and also those heard in other EU countries show that the issue of shared values is genuinely beginning to be treated seriously. Very great political prudence is required to stave off the values crisis, to ensure that efforts to bolster the Community’s ideological foundations does not become an opportunity to eliminate competitors and morph into a war of attrition in which everyone loses. Besides the cohesion, agricultural and security policies, a values policy with effective legal and financial instruments is now also essential.

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.

In our activities we cooperate with organizations and institutions from Poland, EU countries and Eastern Europe. We participate in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. We are also members of Grupa Zagranica,a platform of Polish NGOs involved in international development cooperation, democracy support, humanitarian aid and global education.