Poland. In January, Poland began the largest deployment
of American troops in Europe since the Cold War. About 1,000
soldiers with tanks and heavy armored vehicles were welcomed
at a ceremony in the city of Zagan. A total of 4,000 US
soldiers were deployed in Poland and the Baltic during the
year, which from Moscow was described as a threat to Russian
interests and Russian security.
Following opposition from the opposition, the government
withdrew a contentious proposal to limit the media's ability
to serve in the Polish parliament. In doing so, the
opposition canceled its boycott of Parliament's work.
Countryaah.com, conflicts between the Polish government and the EU
continued during the year. This mainly concerned the
government's increasing control over the judiciary and the
government's refusal to accept asylum seekers under the EU's
quota system. The powerful Catholic Church in Poland,
unusually, went against the government and urged the
government to receive sick Syrian refugees in need of care.
When the European Union elected a permanent President of
the European Council, the Polish government tried to prevent
the re-election of Donald Tusk, political rival to the
ruling party Law and Justice. Party leader Jarosław
Kaczyński accused Tusk of being morally responsible for the
2010 Russian Federation air crash that killed, among other
things, the then president, Kaczyński's twin brother. Tusk
was prime minister at the time. However, Tusk was re-elected
as President of the European Council in March. Poland was
alone among 28 countries to vote no. The Polish government
reacted with bitterness and described the EU as a union
ruled by Germany and built on double standards and deceit.
Prosecutors in Poland then called Donald Tusk to testify
in a lawsuit related to the 2010 plane crash. Two Polish
officers were charged with cooperating with the Russian
intelligence service to hide evidence of the accident. Tusk
was allegedly involved in collaboration with the Kremlin to
damage Poland's interests by hiding evidence.
In April, the result of a new accident investigation,
added by the current government, about the 2010 air crash.
According to it, the crash was probably caused by an
explosion on board. Earlier crash investigators had pointed
out mistakes by pilots and air traffic controllers, and they
labeled the new investigation as propaganda. Tusk was
questioned and described the investigation as very political
in order to hurt his work as President of the European
In June, the European Commission sent a letter to the
Polish government demanding an explanation for Poland's
refusal to accept refugees under the EU's agreed quota.
Depending on the government's response, there may be a
lawsuit in the EU court against Poland.
A controversial felling in World Heritage-listed forests
at the border with Belarus led to widespread protests during
the summer. In July, Poland was reported to the European
Court of Justice for harvesting, which lasted for over a
In July, the government proposed a legislative amendment
that gives the Minister of Justice the right to appoint all
judges in lower courts and that Parliament may appoint
members of the National Judicial Council. The opposition
labeled the proposal as an attempt at a coup d'etat, and
thousands of people protested outside Parliament and the
Supreme Court in protest. The European Commission demanded
that the Polish government suspend its attempts to take
control of the judiciary and threatened to withdraw from
Poland the voting rights in the Council of Ministers. Law
and Justice Party leader Jarosław Kaczyński replied that the
EU should not interfere in Poland's internal affairs.
When both the Senate and the House of Parliament passed
the new laws, the protests grew in strength and spread from
the capital Warsaw to the country. Poland's former president
Lech Wałęsa (1990-95) called on the Poles to defend the
democracy that was born through the trade union Solidarity's
struggle three decades ago. Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor
Orbán, for his part, said he supported the Polish
government's fight against what he described as the EU's
inquisition. President Andrzej Duda signed some of the new
laws but refused to sign the proposal that the members of
the Supreme Court must retire and that the government should
appoint new members. According to the president, the
proposals were contrary to the Constitution. However, the
Minister of Justice was given the right to dismiss and
appoint chief judges in lower courts.
In September, the Polish government declared that Germany
should pay war damages to Poland for the attack during the
Second World War. The sum of EUR 830 billion was mentioned.
Germany was completely dismissive, referring to a 1953
agreement that Poland would not claim more damages than it
received, an agreement that the current Polish government
failed when it signed a Soviet order. In December, the
European Commission decided to sue Poland before the
European Court of Justice.
In September, the European Court of Justice ruled that
the quotas for redistribution of refugees within the EU
should be fixed. Hungary and Slovakia had challenged the
system in court. The Polish government declared that it
remains in its refusal to accept refugees from Greece and
In November, around 60,000 people gathered for a
nationalist demonstration in Warsaw, where, among other
things, an Italian fascist leader spoke. Among the
participants were also Swedish right-wing extremists.
The European Court of Justice ruled in November that the
harvesting of the World Heritage-listed forest must cease,
otherwise expensive whites await Poland. The Polish Minister
for the Environment said that the government respects the
In December, Prime Minister Beata Szydło resigned and was
succeeded by former Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.