Three Things to Watch for during Trump’s Trip to Poland

By Jacob Kostrzewski

President Trump will make a stop in Poland’s capital Warsaw on July 5th prior to attending the G-20 Summit in Germany. His visit comes a year after President Obama visited the country and praised the strong Polish-American alliance but expressed concern about the brewing Constitutional Tribunal crisis.

Since then, the Polish government, led by the right-wing Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość – PiS) party, has undermined Polish democracy in various ways. PiS seeks to assert itself over Polish civil society through the creation of a new body, under the direct control of the Prime Minister, that would distribute funds based partially on whether the missions of organizations are in line with “state policy objectives.” In addition to its refusal to accept Syrian refugees, Poland has reportedly been denying asylum to refugees from Belarus, prompting an investigation from the EU’s Venice Commission. And a newly proposed law would allow Parliament to appoint judges to courts across the country.

Such blatant abuses have sparked mass demonstrations across the country and prompted the EU to threaten sanctions against Poland. The public outcry reflects fear that the immense democratic progress that Poland has made since the fall of communism is being undone. In light of the above, here are three things to watch for during Trump’s visit to Poland.

After shedding Soviet Communism in 1989, Poland has been one of the most reliable U.S. allies in Europe. Trump will have the opportunity to affirm this alliance and its vital role in an uncertain world. That end will not be served by basking in applause and showering government leaders with praise. Rather, Trump should denounce the actions that are threatening this vibrant democracy.


Published on June 29, 2017


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