Is Poland’s Rule of Law Crisis Affecting Its Border Practices at the Polish–Belarus Border?
Since 2021, deliberate actions by Belarusian state authorities have led to a vast increase of people irregularly crossing the border from Belarus into the EU. The three directly involved EU states – Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania – respond with actions that aggravated the humanitarian crisis. The responses mirrored practices at other EU borders, including pushbacks, building walls, and attempts to criminalize humanitarian aid. At the same time, the Belarus–EU border crisis shows distinct elements. In particular, one of the EU countries involved in the responses, Poland, faces a major rule of law crisis.
The aim of the project is to assess the role of Poland’s rule of law backsliding in the humanitarian crisis at the Belarus–EU border. The project will hypothesize that the rule of law backsliding has influenced Polish authorities’ response to the humanitarian crisis, even if at first glance, it may appear that the outcome is similar to those at other EU borders. To assess that, the project will compare Poland’s responses with actions by other states at the EU border, evaluating how unique the situation on the EU–Belarus border is compared to other EU borders.