Two thirds of Poles believe that the advantages of European Union membership outweigh the costs. Access to EU funds is seen as the biggest benefit, while unequal treatment of member states is the most frequently cited disadvantage.
In an IBRiS poll for Rzeczpospolita, Poles were asked to choose the three greatest advantages and disadvantages of their country’s EU membership. The biggest positive was EU funds, which was chosen by 67.9% (up 11.2 percentage points since last year). Poland is the biggest net recipient from the EU budget.
The second most popular choice was open borders between member states, which was picked by just over 58.2% (down significantly, by 21.4 percentage points, since last year). Increased security (34.1%), increased foreign investment (32%), and opportunities for education abroad (22.5%) followed.
🇪🇺 Największe zalety obecności Polski w Unii Europejskiej zdaniem Polaków:
1⃣ fundusze unijne – 67,9% (+11,2 pkt %)
2⃣ otwarte granice – 58,2% (-21,4 pkt %)
3⃣ wzrost bezpieczeństwa – 34,1% (+9,8 pkt %)#sondaż @IBRiS_PL dla @rzeczpospolita https://t.co/cMkO4VEIrI pic.twitter.com/IbylV0EzP9
— IBRiS (@IBRiS_PL) September 15, 2021
The greatest disadvantages were unequal treatment of countries (chosen by 33% of respondents), Poland being a country of cheap labour (30%), and having to obey laws imposed by the EU (25%).
But overall, 68% of Poles said that the benefits of membership outweigh the costs while only 10% thought the opposite. Fourteen percent think that the two are equally balanced.
The poll was taken on Friday and Saturday last week, following an outburst of anti-EU rhetoric from senior figures in Poland’s ruling national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
They were responding to the latest moves by the European Commission to sanction Poland over its judicial policies, including a request for the European Court of Justice to impose daily fines on Warsaw. PiS argues that Poland and other eastern EU member states are treated unfairly by Brussels.
The head of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s parliamentary caucus, Ryszard Terlecki, called for “drastic solutions” to Poland’s dispute with the the EU. As an example, he pointed to how the UK chose to leave the “Brussels dictatorship” completely.
His deputy, Marek Suski, then pledged that Poland will “fight the Brussels occupier”, just as it did the German and Soviet ones in the past. However, subsequently Terlecki, as well as PiS chairman Jarosław Kaczyński, declared that they were not seeking for Poland to leave the EU.
Main image credit: SLAWOMIR KAMINSKI / AGENCJA GAZETA
Ben Koschalka is a translator and senior editor at Notes from Poland. Originally from Britain, he has lived in Kraków since 2005.