The situation with Ukraine-Poland is not only complicated — it’s just not evident. There are several key factors to keep in mind.
First, there are obviously some objective problems. For more or less fifteen years since the start of the EU-Ukraine association talks, we have known that the economic interests of Poland and Ukraine do not quite coincide.
Some experts warned 13 to 15 years ago that in the event of Ukraine’s integration into the EU, its economy, especially the agricultural sector, would become a competitor for Poland.
And that is exactly what we are seeing now. No one knew this problem would arise in the context of the war with Russia. It’s an objective problem. When Spain tried to become part of the EU in the 1980s, French farmers also protested; there was the same issue.
Second, it’s the domestic political situation in Poland. For the people in power and their approach to politics — both domestic and foreign — conflict is much to their liking. It is difficult for them to cooperate with anyone.
It’s especially true during the election campaign, where some aspects of relations with Ukraine will be in the spotlight.
This is also related to the Confederation party. It has become very popular and will be the third force in the new parliament — and it is the only openly anti-Ukrainian political force.
This is a big problem for the Law and Justice party (PiS). They are trying to fight. That is why they are moving away from such unequivocal support for Ukraine.
Farmers are an important group of PiS voters. They do a lot to show that PiS has been helping farmers for eight years. But farmers are not very happy now. There’s a new political force — the Farmers' Union, AGROunia, which will be standing for the first time. So it has been an important group of voters, and whether it will remain that is an open question. But this explains PiS's position on Ukrainian grain.
If PiS does remain in power, there will be no major changes. If the opposition Civic Platform comes to power, there will be no big changes, too. There will, though, be changes if the Confederation becomes a member of the coalition.
There will be problems if there’s not a stable new government in Poland. This scenario is also possible, that there will be second and third elections. It is obvious that internal instability in Poland could have a negative impact on relations with Ukraine.
At the same time, the situation in the war is important. Everyone likes to be part of a success story. Everyone loves Hollywood films where good people almost always win. If Ukraine is this success story in the war, then there will be more support. If there are problems, then there is a possibility of ‘Ukraine fatigue’. We saw that in 2015 and 2016. Support will remain, but there will be less enthusiasm.
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