Poland: Europeanization of Subnational Governments

Paweł Swianiewicz

in The Oxford Handbook of Local and Regional Democracy in Europe

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199562978
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Poland: Europeanization of Subnational Governments

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  • Politics
  • Regional Political Studies
  • Comparative Politics



The traditions of Polish democracy date back to the First Republic. However, eventually Poland suffered collapse due to the relative weakness of the Polish central authorities. Furthermore, the partition of Poland among Russia, Prussia, and Austrian Habsburg Empire in the nineteenth century created a challenge for the unification of the country after it gained its independence in 1918. All of these factors contributed to a fear of radical decentralization and strong regional autonomy. This article discusses the Europeanization of the subnational governments of Poland. In the accession of Poland to the European Union in 2004, the democratic and decentralization processes of the country moved forward. While the accession of Poland into the EU seemed like it had little to do with the subnational government, its accession fundamentally changed the environment with which local and regional governments operated including the balance of political power in all the tiers of the Polish government. Europeanization of the Polish subnational governments led to changes in the internal politics of Poland, the balance of power-play among the tiers in the government, and the efficient and effective mobilization of state funds.

Keywords: Polish democracy; Poland; radical decentralization; regional autonomy; EU accession; subnational government; Polish government; Europeanization

Article.  9271 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Regional Political Studies ; Comparative Politics

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