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The survey commissioned by the portal OKO.press and conducted by the polling agency Ipsos at the end of November coincided with a heated debate concerning the upcoming EU budget. Vehemently opposed to a mechanism liking access to EU money to a rule of law principle, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party threatens to veto the budget, even if the decision would mean Poland losing multiple billions of euros in funds.

-The EU, controlled by a European oligarchy that punishes its weaker members and pushes them into a corner, is not the same EU we once joined and is not an EU that has any future in front of it- said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, addressing the Sejm. The opposition warns of an impending polexit.

The Law and Justice party claims that the EU is violating its own treaties, blames Brussels bureaucrats for their alleged power grab, and calls for more sovereignty of single member states. - We do not attack the European Union. We are the ones defending it in its current treaty-based form - the Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, who’s recently been very vocal about the issue, argued last week. - What the German presidency is proposing, together with the European Commission, is a violation of the treaties, and we are defending them. That is, we are defending the EU in its current form. You could say that we are EU patriots, in a way.

Opinion poll. Polish citizens want stronger ties with the EU

Ipsos asked the respondents about the "policy Poland should support". 54% of surveyed respondents want to see a "closer cooperation in the EU and an expanded role of the European Commission", while 34% are in favor of "limiting the cooperation to economic matters and giving single member states greater independence". 7% support Poland's exit from the EU, 5% have no opinion.

What’s interesting, closer cooperation is supported by nearly every third voter of the ruling party (31%). Civic Coalition (Koalicja Obywatelska) voters are the largest number of respondents supporting this option, while and the smallest percentage can be found among those voting for the Confederation (Konfederacja).

However, Ipsos also asked the respondents about the anti-EU propaganda which some of the ruling camp politicians have recently been spreading.

- What we’re seeing here is an effort to take away our sovereignty, even in the sphere of culture- Jarosław Kaczyński said in an interview with the right-wing daily "Gazeta Polska". He added that "even in the unfavorable reality of communist Poland, certain spheres of human freedom, the possibility to choose, could be saved." - But today, the EU institutions, all their different officials, some politicians that the Polish people have never even elected, demand that we verify our entire culture, reject everything that is especially important to us, just because - he said. Conclusion? EU institutions are worse than the USSR.

Besides, during his speech in the Sejm mentioned at the beginning of the article, Prime Minister Morawiecki did not mince his words either: - The rule of law and violations of the rule of law have become a propaganda beating stick in the EU. We reject this position, we reject this approach. We remember these propaganda beating sticks only too well from the communist era.

Opinion poll. One in three respondents compares the EU to the USSR

Ipsos asked the respondents directly whether they thought that “the European Union treated its member states (e.g. Poland) the same way the USSR treated its satellites under communism”. 63% disagreed with the statement (40% "disagreed strongly", 23% "disagreed somewhat"). However, 32% of those surveyed agreed with the statement (16% "agreeing strongly" and the same percentage "agreeing somewhat").

The largest group of people who believes in the parallels between the EU and the Soviet Union can be found among the Law and Justice party electorate. As much as 64% of its voters agree with the statement. However, 8% of the Civic Coalition supporters, 22% of Szymon Hołownia’s Poland 2050 sympathizers, 7% of the Left party voters, 49% of the Confederation voters, and 23% of the PSL/Kukiz'15 electorate also shares this opinion.

"These results should be an alarm bell for pro-European political forces in Poland. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the 32% of people who compare the EU to the USSR would also support polexit, but it shows that even the most bizarre anti-EU rhetoric can resonate in the Polish society" - OKO.press points out.

The portal has already published the results of a previous survey, which showed that 62% of Poles see the Polish and Hungarian policies as weakening their position in the EU. Even more - 66%- agree with the opinion that the EU "should only grant funds to member states if their governments follow the principles of the rule of law and democracy".

The Ipsos poll commissioned by OKO.press has been conducted between November 23-25, 2020, on a representative sample of 1000 full-age Polish citizens (N= 1000) using the CATI [Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing] method.

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