The legacy of the communist past and the process of democratization: the case of Poland


The fifth enlargement of the European Union (2004 and 2007) represented a challenge both for the post-communist candidate countries and the EU: (i) for the first time the EU had to absorb a large number of countries that were far from the EU norms, in terms of economic developments and structures; (ii) the entire body of European laws, treaties and regulations – acquis communautaire – was much more complex than in any other previous enlargement; and finally, (iii) with the passing of the time, increasing levels of distrust grew amongst the EU member states. The German fears,[i] of being swamped by workers flowing across the borders, spread to almost all of the EU15 member states, while in the run-up to membership, hopes were crushed by the slow, costly pace of the integration process among the candidate countries. In Poland, the idea that the country was becoming a ‘second-class’ member state became the focus of articles[ii] and comments.

Poland was the more difficult state to accommodate within the EU, as a result of its size, and the large and demanding agriculture sector. However, up to 1999 within the country itself support never seemed to decline. Since 1994, when the CBOS (Centrum Badanii Opinii Społecznej, Public Opinion Research Centre) started to conduct its opinion polls on people’s attitudes toward integration, Poles consistently showed high levels of enthusiasm (77% in May 1994, 80% in May 1996, and 72% in August 1997).

Negotiations opened a new reality (Spring 1998), and support began to decrease (May 1999). Even if it seemed rather unlikely that Poles would reject membership, the possibility of a low turnout together with an average lower level of enthusiasm made the referendum days (June 2003) awkward and challenging for Poland with fears of turnout lower than 50%.

This paper examines the role of the communist legacy and the challenges of EU integration for a new democracy, at the political level. It outlines the features of the post-communist system in order to identify the legacy that leaves behind. The impact of the reforms and of the process of European integration towards democratic stabilization and of the process of European integration may face the emergence of fluid party systems where populist and radical-right parties and movements have an easy foot in the door.[iii] Poland is usually considered as both a ‘magnifier’ and an outlier in the area[iv] and can shed a light on the role of the communist legacy in comparative perspective, particularly towards the next EU enlargements in the Western Balkans.



Although Central and Eastern European countries manifest great dissimilarities, they all have in common the experience of communism until 1989-91. Communism was a ‘universalist’ ideology’.[v] The suppression of civil society touched the regimes of Central and Eastern Europe more deeply than those of Mediterranean Europe and Latin America.[vi] The post-communist countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) underwent an unprecedented and demanding triple transition at the same time. That provoked deep dissatisfaction, and in 1995 large sections of the population still approved the communist regime and disliked the new (29% in Hungary, and 22% in Slovakia, according to the New Democracies Barometer IV 1995).[vii]

That unveiled the costly pace of the reforms; for these reasons it is critically important to disentangle the legacy of the communist past from the process of democratization, and analyse its impact on the road to EU accession. Minkenberg observes that Jowitt examined the Leninist legacy, and the way it collapsed, in order to explain its impact on the fragmented Eastern European region, as ‘the only effective way out of this’ fragmented inchoate situation was represented by a massive intervention of Western Europe and the United States’.[viii] The process of European integration certainly sustained the process of democratization in Central and Eastern European countries, but the communist system leaves behind a clear legacy at the political level.

First, they all have little experience of democracy, and a lack of comprehension of consensus and compromise. ‘(H)abits inherited from Leninist and pre-Leninist authoritarianism’ can remain as a ‘psychological leftover’ and emerge at both fringes of the political spectrum.[ix] In the Czech Republic, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy: KSČM) has retained the communist title and is still electorally successful, with 11.3% (26 seats) in the 2010 political elections. In their programme, inspired by Marxism, the nostalgia for the communist past is accompanied by ‘chauvinistic’ stances.[x]

Second, authoritarian and post-totalitarian regimes show a limited political system and a subaltern political culture; in the case of Romania, defined as a ‘sultanistic’ regime under Nicolae Ceausescu, a personalistic leadership also displayed an arbitrary and unpredictable use of power.[xi]

Third, the communist ideology was guiding any political, economic and social activity, and all the appointments were established by the ‘party-state’ that pervasively controlled any position, at both local and national levels.

In order to understand how the legacy impacted on the progress towards EU membership, it is possible to distinguish the communist regimes following the degrees of totalitarianism they displayed and the way they abandoned the model. Any regime differed in the degrees of pluralism, the role and position of the leadership, and attempted or enforced mobilization.

Poland experienced a partial social and economic pluralism – but there was no or limited scope for any type of social, political or economic pluralism in any other regime – and it belongs to the categories of the ‘more authoritarian’[xii] or ‘national-accommodative’[xiii] systems. Although Poland is certainly distinctive in the region,[xiv] this analysis contends that former European communist countries constitute a legitimate object for an area studies approach, and while underlying the different national characteristics, Poland can show the impact of the legacy at the political level.


The legacy of the communist past

Although some of the features of the communist past can be found outside the Central and Eastern European region, it is ‘their particular blend’ that is unique and can explain the legacy of communism. The limited experience of democracy, narrowness of political culture and pervasive role of the communist party have created a political cultural heritage and commonalities[xv] that clearly impact on the process of democratization.

First, a post-communist country can show high levels of public distrust towards political institutions. Before joining the EU, ‘Polish citizens evaluated the situations in the country in a very negative way’, 78% were clear that in Poland ‘we [had] to deal with a political crisis’.[xvi] All that was reflected in the level of interest in politics;[xvii] after accession, in 2005, when asked, 21.6% of respondents asserted that their interest was ‘marginal’, whilst only 13.6% responded they had a ‘high’ interest in politics. Despite the ‘medium’ value gathered most of the answers (48.5%), Polish disengagement with politics was also made clear in the answers to the reasons for not voting. 38.2% of respondents answered ‘definitely yes’ to ‘no interest in politics’ as the reason for not voting in the previous 2001 parliamentary elections, the highest percentage in a country where average turnout (49.42% at parliamentary elections) has been low since the first elections in 1989.[xviii]

In an analysis of all Polish free elections up to 2007, Millard stresses that ‘(H)istory matters’;[xix] ‘the party terrain remained difficult to map’, and citizens hardly engage with the political process.[xx] On the one hand ‘Poland is a young democracy’, on the other low turnout has ‘a long tradition’, as a way to delegitimize and reject the state.[xxi]

Secondly some countries, being used to a charismatic leadership, may opt for a strong president or leaders, and assume ‘unrealistic expectations’ – when success is tempered by the demanding costs of the triple transition. Lech Wałęsa, as the leader of the Solidarity (Solidarność) movement, transposed his strong role as a guide for civil society into his official institutional role as President of Poland (1990-1995), at a time when a relative undifferentiated and passive society was trying to learn to locate itself politically and diversify its independent public sphere of activity. That had important repercussions in later developments of Polish politics. The dichotomy ‘us & them’[xxii] has persisted in what Kubik defines as ‘the original sin of Poland’, and the sense of unfinished business, with enduring cultural and symbolic collective memories that draw a political line between ‘we/the people/Solidarity’ and ‘them/authorities/communists’.[xxiii]

Thirdly, independence also witnessed the emergence of nationalism. The rejection of an external domination and democratic consolidation favour a return to national norms and values. These can lead to ‘undesirable levels and manifestation of nationalism’.[xxiv] That is the case in Poland, where the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin: LPR) tapped into Polish values, such as Catholicism and the fight against the remnants of communism. The League was electorally successful with the support of Father Rydzyk, of the Redemptionist order, known for its very strict interpretation of Catholic doctrine, at a time when EU membership was being closely scrutinised in terms of costs and benefits (2001-2005).[xxv] Nationalist movements (as All-Polish Youth, Młodziez Wszechpolska: MW, a young far-right group), gathered around Father Rydzyk, the fundamentalist religious Radio Maryja and the television ‘Trwam’ and were successful under the League of Polish Families’ banner, Catholicism, the Nation and Patriotism’. Father Rydzyk was able to channel his agenda both socially and politically, through the Radio and the League. [xxvi]

The difficult challenge of the democratic transition can fuel discontent at the public level, and a fluid party system can explain the emergence of populist parties or the excessive power of some leaders, like Vladimir Putin in Russia.[xxvii] Also, increasing levels of Euroscepticism spread across the EU candidate countries that, nonetheless, successfully joined the EU in 2004 (and 2007).


‘Returning to Europe’

The double process of democratization and Europeanization within the Central and Eastern European countries characterised the path towards accession. Grabbe[xxviii] correctly stresses that the negotiations created structures, which affected primarily the development of governance. At the same time the pressure was felt both by the elite and by citizens. However, while the former improved its knowledge and positions, the latter perceived above all the burden of the transformation process. The administrative and legislative procedures did not create any public debate that could impact on the ‘democratic deficit’ of the enlarged EU. As Grabbe suggests, the ‘danger for democracy … (was) that only the top layer of central state officials will have become ‘Europeanised’, while the public (could) remain ‘excluded from European integration’.[xxix]

The transformation process provoked deep dissatisfaction; a partial, but enduring legacy of the communist past that emerged in the Polish case can explain a more passive attitude towards politics generated by forty years of communist regime.[xxx] The overlap of the transformation costs on the (post-communist) passive civil society can have produced a situation where the bonds between citizens and politicians – and politics, as a consequence – are looser. If in Western Europe the disaffection towards political parties and politicians (‘a necessary evil’) ,[xxxi] which started in the Seventies in Britain, and thereafter appeared in the rest of Europe , is growing, in Central and Eastern Europe it is likely to be the product of the past, of the social costs of the triple transition, and of cases of bribery and corruption. That is likely to impact on an already fragile relationship between citizens and politics, as noted above.

Before accession, in the Czech Republic citizens perceived politics as ‘dirty’ or ‘bad’;[xxxii] in Poland and Hungary accession did not halt the emergence of cases of corruption and ‘bad’ politics.[xxxiii] In 1998 in Slovakia surveys ‘indicated intensified corruption’, whilst the growing number of ‘scandals’ involving politics and state institutions weakened levels of trust their legitimacy and in all political institutions.[xxxiv] In Lithuania citizens are dissatisfied with their ‘passive’ role in politics,[xxxv] and in Estonia political parties are the most distrusted, together with labour unions.[xxxvi]

The political culture in post-communist countries is clearly affected by legacies of the past. The general political attitude of citizens in these countries can be compared to that of ‘cynics’, with a general negativism and ‘obsessive lack of trust.’[xxxvii] Dissatisfaction can be channeled towards Euroscepticism in the run-up to membership, with decreasing levels of Euroenthusiasm.


Table 1. Positive image of the EU in Central and Eastern Europe before accession

1992 47 46  39 45 46 55 53 44
1993 51 45 35 32 34 40 43 48 55
1994 42 37 44 31 36 40 45 37 45
1995 37 34 37 29 32 35 34 42 51
1996 27 26 31 30 30 35 23 46 50
1997 42 33 34 24 33 26 22 58 65
1998 50 34 46 30 42 33 34 56 56
2001 70 46 48 24 51 33 39 44 70
2002 64 43 47 27 59 37 41 46 72
2003 72 42 51 30 45 44 50 47 75

Source: CCEB and CEEB


This analysis suggests that the process of EU integration benefits democratization. Nevertheless, when the social costs of post-communist transformation start to impact upon citizens’ lives, the positive image of the EU decreases (as happened in the middle of the Nineties). In particular, in post-communist countries, where levels of distrust toward political institutions are higher as a legacy of the communist past, political parties using Euroscepticism as their main electoral issue can emerge. As a consequence, Euroscepticism can channel disaffection against an enemy (EU), as has happened in Poland with Self-Defence (Samoobrona Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej: SRP, Self-Defence of the Polish Republic),[xxxviii] but also in candidate countries, as in Croatia, with the Croatian Democratic Community (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica: HDZ) and Social Democratic Party of Croatia (Socijaldemokratska Partija Hrvatske: SDP).[xxxix]


Table 2. EU Accession referendums: turnout and yes votes (March-September 2003)

Countries Turnout (%) Yes vote (%)
Latvia 72.50 67
Lithuania 63.37 90.97
Estonia 63.00 66.90
Slovenia 60.44 89.64
Poland 58.85 77.45
Czech Republic 55.21 77.33
Slovakia 52.15 93.71
Hungary 45.62 83.76
Mean 58.89 80.85

*In Slovenia the accession referendum was taken together with the referendum on accession to NATO.


Despite increasing general levels of discontent, the consistent levels of support for integration maintained the drive towards the ‘return to Europe’ in 2004. The Szczerbiak-Taggart model[xl] successfully explains the background and results of both ‘yes votes’ and turnout. Firstly, the low turnout is likely to have helped higher proportions of ‘yes’ votes, the highest in Hungary (83.76%), and Slovakia (93.71%), the two countries with the lowest turnout. Secondly, ‘no votes’ did not have any chances: support was diffuse at the elite level and broadly uncontested, also at the public opinion level in the run-up to accession. Low turnout is mainly in line with the previous elections, and is not surprising, particularly as former communist countries were and still are registering low levels of political participation.[xli]

It is important to bear in mind that, particularly in Poland, the idea of the ‘return to Europe’ (Powrót do Europy)[xlii] gave more strength to public support for the EU itself, and it was ‘one of the leitmotifs since the collapse of communism’. Politically, the EU represented liberal democracy; economically, it was the capitalist market economy, and at the international level, EU membership meant creating independent international relations and integration with Western organizations.[xliii] In Poland, the government aimed to ‘sell’ the referendum as a ‘patriotic duty’. There was no controversy across the parties. Also before the Pope endorsed the ‘yes’ vote in May 2003, the ‘No’ campaign had no chance of success and Poles continued to be Euroenthusiasts, or at least Euro-neutral. The referendum had emotional, symbolic, but also politically important connotations, and the return of Europe was accomplished in 2004.


Conclusions and implications

Although EU integration is a challenge for post-communist societies and new democracies, there are also opposing approaches that view the process of democratization, and economic and social transitions in more positive logic. This analysis supports these views. Already in the early Nineties, Central and Eastern European countries signed the Association Agreements,[xliv] and the likelihood of joining international organizations, such as the EU, and later NATO, did reinforce the process of democratization. Being subject to democratic conditionality, [xlv] and provided with a legal framework for promoting democratization and policy reforms, can ensure and more successful and less painful transition.

The process of democratization was inextricably linked to EU (and NATO) membership in all the post-communist countries. Outright opposition was not credible and usually confined to the fringes of the political system. In addition, there was no valid foreign policy alternative; the EU is able consolidate and reinforce the transition process and provide positive future perspectives.

The challenges that the first group of post-communist countries have accomplished in 2004 (and 2007) are the next challenges in the Western Balkans. Croatia, a candidate country since June 2004, has already closed 30 of the 33 chapters. The Croatian government adopted two communication strategies, but Croats still regard themselves as ill informed. This is the stage when Eurosceptic parties can fuel Eurosceptic debates. On the one hand, in fact, EU conditionality is perceived as ‘an insult to the national pride’, on the other EU membership can mean the loss of national sovereignty – that is more important in the case of small countries that have a minimal impact on the EU policy-making process.[xlvi] However, if the ‘Nation’ was an important theme for the League of Polish Families, a hard Eurosceptic party, Croatia seems to have embarked on a new political course after signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement.[xlvii] Mobilization under a religious-nationalist banner is likely to be less successful in Croatia, that is not the case in Serbia, a future candidate country. When countries undergo the process of democratization, the tension between drawing a line under the past and reconnecting to national values can bring back constructs from the pre-communist heritage. Leustan stressed that in the Balkans the Orthodox Church ‘is the cradle of the nation’[xlviii] and the Serbian Church is distinctive in the way it demarcates itself from Western attitudes. In addition, the case of Kosovo still signals the difficult path towards candidate status, despite the capture of Radko Mladic, that can still trigger nationalist sentiments. On the other hand, the new patriarch Irinej supports the process of European integration and could limit increasing levels of hard Euroscepticism, whilst the EU’s leverage is successful in stabilizing democracy in candidate countries.[xlix] Democratic conditionality does lock-in democracy, and that was the reason why Slovakia was excluded by the EU negotiations in 1997; and both Slovakia and Romania were not included in the first wave of NATO enlargement (1999).

It is therefore fundamental for post-communist countries, and Serbia, to achieve candidate status. The communist legacy is not sufficient to explain a fragmented system or the emergence of populist and radical-right wing parties, but the issue-salience and the dynamic of actors and party competition needs to be taken into account in order to avoid static conclusions.[l] The legacy, Catholicism, the Nation and the threat of European integration were important for the League of Polish Families. Trust in institutions and attention towards nationalist stances, while countries are paying the costs of the reforms, are issues to be addressed on the path towards candidate status in the Western Balkans. When finally these countries do become full EU candidates, democratic conditionality and accession as ‘civilizational’ choice can reinforce the process of democratization.


[i] S. Guerra (2002) ‘La Polonia e l’allargamento ad Est dell’Unione europea: le posizioni della Francia e della Germania’, Paper No.1, Gennaio 2002, European Studies Papers, a cura di Ariane Landuyt, C.R.I.E., GiPS, Università degli Studi di Siena.

[ii] L. Kolarska-Bobińska (2002) ‘Popieramy integrację, bo ufamy rządowi’, Rzeszpospolita, 16-17 July.

[iii] V. Tismeanu (2007) ‘Leninist Legacies, Pluralist Dilemmas’, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 34-39.

[iv] S. de Lange and S. Guerra (2009) The League of Polish Families between East and West, past and present’, The Journal of Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 527-549. P. 529.

[v] J. Batt (2003) ‘Introduction: Defining Central and Eastern Europe’ in S. White, J. Batt, and P. Lewis (eds) (2003) Developments in Central and Eastern European Politics 3, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 3-22. P. 6.

[vi] R. Rose (1998) ‘Prospects for Democracy in Post-Communist Europe’, in S. White, J. Batt and P. G. Lewis (eds) Developments in Central and Eastern European Politics 2, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 276-295, quoting J. Linz and A. Stepan (1996) Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America and Postcommunist Europe, London: Johns Hopkins University Press.

[vii] Ibid., p. 289.

[viii] M. Minkenberg (2010) ‘Leninist beneficiaries? Pre-1989 legacies and the radical-right in post-1989 Central and Eastern Europe’ in M. Minkenberg (ed) Historical Legacies and the Radical Right in Post-Cold War Central and Eastern Europe, afterword by Sabrina P. Ramet, Stuttgart: Ibidem Verlag, Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics & Society Series, p. 14.

[ix] V. Tismeanu (2007) ‘Leninist Legacies, Pluralist Dilemmas’, op. cit., p. 36.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] J. Linz and A. Stepan (1996) Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, op. cit.

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] H. Kitschelt, Z. Mansledova, R. Markowski, G. Toka (1999) Post-Communist Party Systems: Competition, Representation and Interparty Co-operation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[xiv] The Church always maintained a relative autonomy; agriculture was never completely collectivized, with a majority of private independent farms, and lived also a particular transition due to an active civil society.

[xv] L. Holmes (1997) Post-Communism. An Introduction, Cambridge: Polity Press. P. 15.

[xvi] K. Pankowski (2003) Parlament Europejski oraz Polskie i unijne instytucje w opinii Polaków: ISP: Ekspertyzy-Recomendacje-Raporty z Badań, Warsaw: Fundacja ISP. P. 11

[xvii] ‘q62’ in the 2005 PNES data set. The 2005 Polish National Election Study 2005, is a study affiliated with the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, and sponsored by the Polish Ministry of Science and Information, grant No. 5 1 H02E 060 28; co-sponsored by the Stefan Batory Foundation, Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS), Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences and University of Glasgow (Department of Politics & Department of Central and East European Studies).  It is directed by Professor Radosław Markowski of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and it covers questions on public and social attitudes. The author gratefully acknowledges Dr Clare McManus-Czubińska, Department of Central and East European Studies, University of Glasgow, Prof. Radosław Markowski and Prof. Mikołaj Cześnik, Polish Academy of Sciences and Warsaw School of Social Psychology.

[xviii] S. Guerra and M. Bil (2009)‘Election or Referendum?: The 2007 Polish Parliamentary Election’, Representation, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 75-85.

[xix] F. Millard (2010) Democratic Elections in Poland, 1991-2007, London: BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies. P. 5.

[xx] Ibid., p. 218.

[xxi] M. Cześnik (2004) ‘Uczestnictwo wyborcze, stosunek do demokracji, legitymizacja władzy. Przypadek Polski’, in R. Markowski (ed) Populizm a Demokracja, Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN, Warsaw: Polskiej Akademii Nauk, pp. 123-143. P. 134.

[xxii] Millard points to the old roots of the ‘us & them’ divide in a ‘culture of opposition’ that traces back to a long history of domination. Still, she addresses the impact of the Round Table negotiations and the ‘government’s gradualist approach … to lustration and democratization’ that ‘fuelled accusations’. F. Millard (2010) Democratic Elections in Poland, op. cit., pp. 11-13. That provided a successful electoral issue for the League of Polish Families, see de Lange and Guerra (2009) The League of Polish Families between East and West, past and present’, op. cit.

Lustration is the screening of individuals for past associations with the communist security services, while de-communization refers to the exclusion of those associated with the old regime from public life. States have approached how to deal with the past in different ways, and most have rejected radical approaches. That can let the debate resurface at the political level and create widespread mistrust.

[xxiii] J. Kubik and A. Linch (2006) ‘The original sin of Poland’s Third Republic: discounting ‘‘Solidarity’’ and its

consequences for political reconciliation’, Polish Sociological Review, Vol. 1 No. 153, pp. 9-38. See also, S. de Lange and S. Guerra (2009) The League of Polish Families between East and West, past and present’, op. cit.

[xxiv] L. Holmes (1997) Post-Communism, op. cit, p. 16.

[xxv] S. de Lange and S. Guerra (2009) The League of Polish Families between East and West, past and present’, op. cit.

[xxvi] See S. Guerra ‘Religion and Politics in the European Union: Eurosceptic Allies or Euroenthusiast Friends?’ in L. Leustan (ed) Does God Matter? Representing Religion in the European Union, London: Routledge, forthcoming.

[xxvii] V. Tismeanu (2007) ‘Leninist Legacies, Pluralist Dilemmas’, op. cit.

[xxviii] H. Grabbe (2001) ‘How does Europeanization affect CEE governance? Conditionality, diffusion and diversity’, Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 8, No. 6, pp. 1013-1031.

[xxix] Ibid., p. 1029.

[xxx] R. Rose (1998), op. cit., pp. 276-295.

[xxxi] R. J. Dalton and S. A. Weldon (2005) ‘Public Images of Political Parties: A Necessary Evil?’, West European Politics, Vol. 28, No. 5, pp. 931-951.

[xxxii] S. Mihailova (2006) ‘Slovakia. Pathways to a democratic community’ in H.D. Klingemann, D. Fuchs and J. Zielonka (eds) Democracy and Political Culture in Eastern Europe, London: Routledge Research in Comparative Politics, pp. 172-200. P. 105.

[xxxiii] The Rywin Affair in 2002 – up to 2004 – and the PKN Orlen Affair in 2005 were the events, which signaled the persistent cases of corruption and bribery in Poland. In the former case, under the SLD government, the Polish film producer Lew Rywin offered an exchange of favours to Adam Michnik, former dissident and editor of one of the main newspapers in Poland, Gazeta Wyborcza, money for amendments to a draft law, involving papers and TV channels, as some SLD (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, Democratic Left Alliance) parliamentary politicians. In the latter case, still under the Centre-Left government, also the Polish president, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, was asked to testify in front of the investigative commission on the privatization of the largest state-owned oil giant in the country, the PKN Orlen. In Hungary in September 2006 a tape was made public, where a few months after his re-election as Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted he lied about the economic situation in the country during the electoral campaign.

[xxxiv] S. Mihailova (2006) ‘Slovakia. Pathways to a democratic community’, op. cit, pp. 184-195.

[xxxv] R. Alisauskiene (2006) ‘Civil society and democratic orientation’ in H.D. Klingemann, D. Fuchs and J. Zielonka (eds) Democracy and Political Culture in Eastern Europe, London: Routledge Research in Comparative Politics, pp. 256-276. P. 275.

[xxxvi] Titma, M. and A. Rämmer (2006) ‘Estonia. Changing value patterns in a divided society’ in H.D. Klingemann, D. Fuchs and J. Zielonka (eds) (2006) Democracy and Political Culture in Eastern Europe, London: Routledge Research in Comparative Politics, pp. 277-307. Pp. 296-297.

[xxxvii] A. Krouwel and K. Abts (2007) ‘Varieties of Euroscepticism and Populist Mobilization: Transforming Attitudes from Mild Euroscepticism to Harsh Eurocynicism’, Acta Politica, Vol. 42, No. 2-3, pp. 252-270.

[xxxviii] See J. FitzGibbon and S. Guerra (2010) ‘Not Just Europeanization, Not Necessarily Populism: Potential factors underlying the mobilization of populism in Ireland and Poland’ Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 273-291.

[xxxix] Z. Vujcic (2005) ‘Euro-skepticism on the rise’, Transition Online, 28 September,

[xl] A. Szczerbiak and P. Taggart (2004) ‘The Politics of European Referendum Outcomes and Turnout: Two Models’ and ‘Towards a Model of (European) Referendums’, West European Politics, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 557-583 and pp. 749-777.

[xli] H.D. Klingemann, D. Fuchs and J. Zielonka (eds) Democracy and Political Culture in Eastern Europe, London: Routledge Research in Comparative Politics.

[xlii] CBOS (1990) BS/260/109/90, Komunikat z Badań, Powrót do Europy, September, Warsaw.

[xliii] A. Szczerbiak (2002) ‘The Political Context of EU Accession in Poland’, Europe Papers, The Royal Institute of International Affairs,; K. Bobiński (2001) ‘A stork’s eye view from Poland’ Open Democracy,

[xliv] Hungary and Poland signed the Association Agreements (or European Agreements) in December 1991. In 1991-1992, these were concluded. Hungary and Poland submitted their application for accession in March 1994 and obtained the official status as candidate country in April 1994.

[xlv] G. Pridham (2007) ‘Unfinished Business? Eastern Enlargement and Democratic Conditionality’, FRIDE Working Paper No. 36, Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior, Madrid,available at

[xlvi] A. Štulhofer (2007) ‘Euroscepticism in Croatia: on the far side of rationality?’, available at, p. 151.

[xlvii] W. Bartlett (2003) Croatia. Between Europe and the Balkans, London: Routledge

[xlviii] L. Leustan (2008) ‘Orthodoxy and political myths in Balkan national identities’, National Identities, 10: 421-32.

[xlix] A. M. Vachudova (2008) ‘Tempered by the EU?  Political parties and party systems before and after accession’, Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 15, No.6, pp. 861-79.

[l] S. de Lange and S. Guerra (2009) The League of Polish Families between East and West, past and present’, op. cit.







Simona Guerra is a Lecturer in Politics at the Department of Politics, History and International Relations, Loughborough University. Her main research interests focus on the domestic politics of EU integration, Euroscepticism and Populism, and Religion and Politics. Simona is currently completing her first monograph, Central and Eastern European Attitudes in the Face of the Union. A Comparative Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan).

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