Research Seminar | Conflicts over the rule of law with the European Union: Democratic Backsliding in Poland
Most of the studies examining democratic backsliding in Eastern and Central Europe (ECE) ask if the EU reacts coherently to the current rule of law crisis. Different types of literature explain EU's action with intergovernmental decision-making in the EU institutions, the fear of a “rally around the flag” effect, or symbolic/creative compliance in the member states. Less is said about how the EU's actions affect the implicated member state. This article closes this gap by examining if the action of the EU stabilises or destabilises the backsliding regime. It analyses this question by focusing on the Polish case and analysing the recent events such as the launch of Art.7 and infringements proceedings (2016-2019) or the introduction of the rule of law conditionality connected to the Next-Generation fund (2019-2021). It finds that the EU's non-uniform response led only to slowing down, rather than to reversal of democratic backsliding, with the infringement proceedings being the more successful tool. Polish citizens are rather ready to accept the EU's softer recommendations than harder sanctions such as the Art.7 proceedings.
Adam Holesch is a post-doctoral fellow and the Project Manager of GLOBE - “Global Governance and the European Union: Future Trends and Scenarios”. Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program, GLOBE addresses the strategic priorities identified in the EU Global Strategy such as trade, development, security, climate change, migration and global finance.
Adam finished his PhD at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona in 2016. His research follows an interdisciplinary approach mixing insights from Political Theory, Comparative Politics and Political Economy, studying about all questions of nationalism, regionalism and the European Union. Adam has also published two books on German-Polish relations.
*This activity has limited capacity. Registration is required to have a guaranteed seat and be able to attend the face-to-face modality. Virtual attendees will receive the access link by email.