Poland

  • Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Trends Bode Badly for Ukraine

    A recent increase in illiberal trends in a number of Eastern European countries threatens to erode support for Ukraine in the region. Just as important, it may lead to disillusionment inside Ukraine, where reformers have drawn on the region’s democracy building experience as guidance for Ukraine’s own reforms.

    Immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries launched profound pro-market, pro-democratic, and pro-European transformations, quickly becoming members of NATO and the European Union. These young EU members were a source of inspiration for Ukraine’s pro-European activists and reformers at a time when Ukraine was perceived as “stuck in transition”—captured in the vicious cycle of an oligarchic economic model and corrupt political decision-making. Following the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine made important progress in energy pricing, procurement, and increased public service transparency by introducing electronic declarations, but is still striving to catch up in areas like the rule of law and protection of property rights.

    But Eastern Europe may no longer serve as a model for Ukraine’s reforms: some of these countries’ own democratic institutions are now under threat.

    Read More
  • Duda’s Veto Presents Poland with an Opportunity

    Warsaw must focus on repairing ties with the European Union, said Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell

    Polish President Andrzej Duda’s decision to veto controversial judicial reforms gives Poland—the scene of creeping authoritarianism—an opportunity to mend its relationship with the European Union (EU). It also represents a significant split between the president and Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and a man to whom Duda owes much of his political career.

    On July 24, Duda vetoed two of three controversial judicial reforms approved by parliament. These include replacing supreme court judges with government nominees.

    “[Duda’s decision] gives Poland the opportunity to walk back from the brink with the European Union,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative.

    Read More
  • Poland’s Revolutionary Lessons for Ukraine

    In the last thirty years, Ukraine has undergone three revolutions: the Revolution on Granite (1990), the Orange Revolution (2004-2005), and the Revolution of Dignity (2013-2014)—each about different values. The first one was about the right to independence, the second about fair elections, and the third about the right to choose the country’s geopolitical direction.

    For Poles who planned and participated in the revolution of the 1980s, the key was to be ready for the window of opportunity—have an idea, clear demands, a plan for reforms, and ready leaders. On average, a country is presented with a chance for change every fifty years. Ukraine seems to be an exception and gets its chance every ten years.

    Read More
  • Atlantic Council Honors Champions of Freedom

    The political, security, and humanitarian challenges facing the world today cannot be overcome without international cooperation and a concerted effort to strengthen the “solidarity of values” of the transatlantic community, Daniel Fried, a recipient of the Atlantic Council’s 2017 Freedom Award, said at the awards ceremony in Warsaw, Poland, on July 7.

    The post-World War II international order created by the collaborative efforts of the United States and Europe “is at risk and under assault from without—from Russia—and from within—from those who doubt the value of what the free world achieved and what the free world stands for,” said Fried, a former assistant secretary of state for Europe who is currently a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and Future Europe Initiative.  

    In an ardent call for transatlantic cooperation, Fried said: “We must equally recommit to the free world and the common values which have propelled us this far.”

    Read More
  • TRADE in ACTION - July 7, 2017

    THIS WEEK IN TRADE
    The G20 Summit is this week, and the stakes are high for all the attendees. For live coverage of the G20, follow along on Politico.

    Read More
  • Trump States US Commitment to Europe, Article 5

    US President Donald J. Trump’s speech in Poland ahead of the G20 summit on July 7 reassured allies and emphasized the importance of the transatlantic relationship, noting that a strong Europe is beneficial for the United States and the whole of the West.

    “When your nations are strong, all the free nations of Europe are stronger, and the West becomes stronger as well,” Trump said in a speech on July 6 in Warsaw. “Together, our nation and yours can bring greater peace, prosperity, and safety to all of our people.”

    “We live today in an era of global volatility…[and] we appeal for transatlantic cooperation,” to deal with the myriad threats facing the international community today, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski said in a keynote address at the Atlantic Council’s Global Forum in Warsaw.

    Noting the significance of Trump’s trip to Poland and the gravity of his vocal support for the US-European relationship, Waszczykowski called the US president’s visit “an important step to strengthen the transatlantic link and to further our transatlantic ambitions.”

    Read More
  • Private Sector Support Sought for Three Seas Initiative

    US President Donald J. Trump has provided “valuable” support to the Three Seas Initiative, but he can go further by encouraging US businesses to participate in the plan that seeks to improve trade, infrastructure, and energy links among the twelve nations between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic Seas, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said at the Atlantic Council’s Global Forum in Warsaw on July 7.

    “What President Trump can do is to encourage American businesses to look at the initiative more closely and to participate in the initiative,” said Grabar-Kitarović who, together with Polish President Andrzej Duda, launched the Three Seas Initiative in 2016.

    Grabar-Kitarović participated in a panel discussion with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid. Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Kempe moderated the discussion.

    Read More
  • Addressing Twenty-First-Century Threats

    Conventional forces called critical component of NATO’s toolkit

    Though the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign poses a significant threat to Western security, NATO allies working to counter Russian aggression must remember the importance of bolstering conventional forces, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “Conventional forces are back,” said Ian Brzezinski, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. Citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, he described how “yes, there was hybrid warfare, but there were also 30,000 Russian special forces that were sent into Crimea.”

    Russia’s military is “a much more capable force than they were ten years ago,” according to Brzezinski, whereas NATO troops are now stretched thin.  

    Read More
  • Trump Declares His Administration Will 'Firmly' Defend NATO's Article 5 Commitment

    On behalf of all Americans, let me also thank the entire Polish people for the generosity you have shown in welcoming our soldiers to your country.
    Read More
  • The Three Seas Summit: A Step Toward Realizing the Vision of a Europe Whole, Free, and at Peace?

    On July 6, heads of state from across Central Europe will convene in Warsaw, Poland, to address how to drive forward regional infrastructure projects. They will be joined by US President Donald J. Trump. The Three Seas Summit, convened by the presidents of Poland and Croatia, involves nations situated between the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas. The participants will be driven by a shared determination to complete the vison of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.

    Twenty-eight years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, much progress has been made toward fulfilling that vision. The accession of Central Europe’s countries to NATO and the European Union (EU) contributed to the security, stability, and prosperity of the entire continent as well as the transatlantic alliance.

    These have been remarkable successes, yet the task is far from complete. Europe’s economic and social woes, as well as new security challenges, add to the urgency of completing and consolidating the European integration project—a project that is critical to catalyzing and reinforcing the prosperity and resilience of the EU as a whole.

    Read More