Global Affairs

The EU's east-west divide

Poland’s recent pushback on the issue of judiciary independence highlights tensions between the EU’s Western European members and Brussels on one side and the former communist countries that joined the union after the end of the Cold War on the other.

People carrying Polish and European Union flags at a protest against the judgment of the constitutional tribunal in Krakow, Poland, on Oct 10, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

When Britain left the European Union, officials at the EU headquarters in Brussels were saddened, but also relieved. At long last, the most awkward member state, the country that always blocked any proposal to make the union more cohesive, was gone. Without Britain, everything was possible.

Sadly, however, it was not to be. For the EU is now embroiled in a bitter dispute with Poland, one of its most significant member states, and the biggest of the 12 former communist countries that joined as full members since the end of the Cold War.

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