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Polexit? New Iron Curtain divides Europe

Rudyard Kipling once wrote that “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” The poet was referring to his experiences in India and Britain, but the line could increasingly apply to modern Europe.

Donald Tusk lobbed a grenade into the room last week when he warned that Poland, his homeland, could feasibly follow Britain out of the European Union in the future. Speaking to a Warsaw news weekly, the EU president suggested Polish attitudes may change if the country eventually becomes a net contributor to the bloc’s finances.

Of course, there are internal political dynamics behind Tusk’s warning, given the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is the primary opponent of Civic Platform (PO), which he co-founded and led for 11 years.

Under Tusk’s guidance, the latter party pursued a liberal pro-European course modelled on Angela Merkel’s German Christian Democrats. By contrast, PiS are nationalist conservatives, strongly opposed to unfettered immigration and skeptical of Brussels. However, they don’t seem to have qualms about accepting EU cash with Poland currently the biggest recipient, at $10 billion annually.

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