WARSAW, Poland - Since British voters endorsed leaving the European Union, politicians and pundits have ruminated on which of the bloc’s remaining 27 nations could be next. “Grexit” and “Frexit,” for Greece and France, were two subjects of speculation.
Now, months of open conflict between Poland’s conservative nationalist government and the rest of the EU has some Poles wondering if their leaders are putting the country on a path that could take it out of the union.
“There is a question mark over Poland’s European future today,” European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who is a critic of the ruling Law and Justice party, said Thursday.
The EU is widely popular in Poland, so the idea of the country abandoning the bloc strikes many people here as farfetched. Several surveys have shown public support for the EU standing at over 70 percent, approval stemming from the economic boom and freedom of travel that came with membership in 2004.
But members of the opposition in Poland increasingly are voicing fears that the conflicts between Warsaw and Brussels could eventually lead to a parting of ways.
They point to the defiant stance Law and Justice and its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, adopted when the EU raised concerns about changes to Poland’s justice system and the extensive logging the government has ordered in a primeval forest that has been classified as a UNESCO world heritage site.