We are all surprised at what happened in Poland on October 25th, 2015, when the political power went to the eurosceptic party “Prawo i Sprawiedliwość” (“Law and Justice”). Maybe we are not surprised so much by the change, but by its size. Do not ask me, however, why is that so. Poland is a country where you can spend your whole life and not understand it, even if you are a Pole.
Since I met you in the year 2008, I have had to answer your questions which were challenging for me. How to explain to a Dutchman (reasonably) that a country which has received so much money from the European Union, has become – at least apparently – anti-European?
Since 2009 we used to meet every summer to travel across Poland. We have had seven trips so far. The important reason for those trips was to show on our website “Polen voor Nederlanders” how EU subsidies have changed the country positively.
But in the parliament elections on October 25th, 2015 the winner is (like a bit earlier the president) the party, that had as slogan “Poland is in ruins” (wreck, destruction, devastation etc.). So all the Poles could see the new roads, highways, restored towns and villages but many of them followed the party which told them rousing lies. You kept asking me, Han, what has been done so wrong to us by the EU that we rejected it. But it was not a plebiscite for or against the EU. Besides aggressively right-wing circles that up to October 25th, 2015 used to sing in churches “Lord, bring us back a free country” and today they sing “Lord, bless the free country” in Boże coś Polskę, for many Poles the European Union was not the main theme of these elections. People just wanted a change, because despite good economic indicators, the situation of many of us has not improved. We were fed up with the brilliant vision of big developments while our wages remained trashy compared to the west of Europe.
My future pension was calculated at 250 euro. Well, maybe it will be 275 euro if PiS does not decide to withdraw the pension reform introduced by the former government. And it was a promise to restore the previous pension scheme (60 years for women and 65 for men) which brought PiS a victory. And one more thing – the promise of 500 zł for the second and subsequent child. It is not known how PiS will get the money, but a big part of Poles who voted for this party believes that this money will be found. Because we, Poles, are people of big believes!
What are the other questions I cannot answer to you and myself? Why the winner is a party that 8 years ago was rejected after only 2 years of ruling, because we were sick of it (you remember those crowds waiting for voting in 2007)? I don’t know, but yet its leader still wants the same – a full control over the state and its citizens; to decide what is right and what is not; to decide who is a real Pole and who is not; what model of patriotism is the proper one and which model of civilization applies (tight symbiosis of state and conservative Church).
Do not ask me why the big winner of this election is a former rock man Kukiz (third force in the parliament), whose only program is no program but smashing the SYSTEM, but who sticks to the party that wants to introduce the SUPERSYSTEM (see above).
There are more questions that I can’t find answers for. And the answer to whether Poles have made the right choice will come soon.
To understand more I recommend you read again the story Young Poles – awakening.
Examples of “Poland in ruins”:
National Stadium in Warsaw
New seat of National Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra in Katowice (NOSPR) / fot. Bartłomiej Barczyk
According to the Public Opinion Research Centre survey 84 percent of respondents have declared support for Polish membership in the EU. Only every tenth is opposite.