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Differentiated Integration and Shifting Power Relations in the European Union: A Polish Perspective

Agnieszka Cianciara

The euro crisis has reinforced the functional need for further deepening of the European integration while at the same time rendering its political feasibility and popular acceptance practically impossible. This has led towards increasingly differentiated integration process as exemplified by the consolidation of division between euro-zone and non-euro zone members as well as the British quest for renegotiation of membership conditions. The crisis has also exacerbated divisions between the creditor and the debtor countries while empowering Germany and making eurosceptics rise throughout the Union. Against this background Poland is facing European (2014) and national (2015) elections with the government coalition largely on the defensive, conservative-nationalist forces on the rise and the catholic church becoming more radically anti-EU than ever. It is thus an opportune moment to look at the Polish perceptions and ideas about the course of the European integration, the shifting power relations between member states and institutions including the resulting challenges and opportunities for Poland. Research is based on a thorough analysis of wide-ranging sources (government and party documents, official statements, think-tank policy papers, press overview) across the political spectrum.

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