11:37 GMT25 September 2020
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    Poles are growing increasingly divided over the European Union's decision to monitor the state of Polish democracy, a new poll by conservative daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita finds.

    According to the survey, conducted late last month by the Warsaw-based IBRiS polling agency for the newspaper and released on Tuesday, Poles are divided nearly 50/50 when it comes to EU institutions' decision to examine state of Polish democracy. 

    The poll came on the heels of a series of moves aimed at 'downgrading' Poland's status within the supranational union, with the European Commission taking the unprecedented step of launching an inquiry into the rule of law in Poland, the European Parliament holding a debate on the issue, and big-three credit rating agency Standard & Poor's downgrading the country's credit rating one notch from A- to BBB+, with a negative outlook.

    The decision by the EC and the European Parliament to monitor the situation in Poland was welcomed by 47% of respondents, with an equal number (47%) opposed, polling showed.

    According to Rzeczpospolita, the three most serious shortcomings of Polish membership in the EU listed by respondents include the imposition of unwanted EU legislation, unequal treatment of member states when it comes to agricultural subsidies (Western European states have the right to more funding), and the sense that the EU views Poland as a pool of cheap labor.

    41% of Poles believe that EU decisions which affect Poland – decisions like whether to accept migrants or issues of climate change, must first be discussed in the country, and only then be debated at the EU level.

    Moreover, die-hard supporters of the ruling Right and Justice Party (PiS) and the Eurosceptic KORWiN Party believe that issues affecting only Poland must be decided in Poland, without the need to pay any heed to Brussels. 19% of respondents proposed such an approach.

    Asked what they like best about the EU, IBRiS polling found that first and foremost, Poles appreciate the open borders between European governments – "the freedom of movement which is becoming more and more at risk in connection to the migrant crisis," Rzeczpospolita commented. Other positives include EU funding and subsidies, and the ability to get an education abroad.

    People attend the anti-government demonstration in front of government building in Warsaw, on January 23, 2016. Thousands of people took to the streets in more than 30 cities across Poland on Saturday to defend freedom and protest against the conservative government
    After gaining control of both the presidency and the parliament in elections held in the spring and fall of last year, the ruling Law and Justice Party has stepped into a war of words with Brussels and Berlin, along with much of its own population, over new laws on the media, the country's constitutional court, and a surveillance laws. Brussels, for its part, has accused Warsaw of 'sinking into totalitarianism', with Warsaw countering that it won't be lectured to by Brussels bureaucrats or German officials on the state of Poland's democracy.


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