MS Risk Blog

President Trump’s Upcoming Visit to Poland Causes Unease in Brussels

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US President Donald Trump’s trip to Poland later on this week may feel like a diplomatic coup for the right-wing government, however western European countries are increasingly becoming uneasy that it will further encourage Warsaw’s defiance towards Brussels.

President Trump will visit Poland on 6 July for one day – en route to a G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. During his visit to Poland, he will take part in a gathering of leaders from central Europe, Baltic states and the Balkans. The event, which has now been moved to Warsaw because of the US leader’s visit, was convened by Poland in a bid to bolster regional trade and infrastructure. The gathering has been dubbed the Three Seas summit because the countries involved border the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas. According to his top economic adviser, President Trump is planning to promote US natural gas exports to the leaders from Central and Eastern Europe, a region that has heavily relied on Russian supplies. Earlier this month, Poland received its first shipment of US liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Most diplomats in Brussels have dismissed the importance of the Three Seas project, which is being co-hosted by Croatia. They are also wary over President Trump’s high-profile visit to participate in a project that one senior EU official called Poland’s push towards “self-ghettoization.” Another EU diplomat stated about the Three Seas project that “one cannot but feel a bit suspicious if it isn’t an attempt to break up European unity.” Furthermore diplomats in Brussels view the visit a Poland’s bid to carve out influence outside the European Union (EU), with which the nationalist government has repeatedly clashed.

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has played a major role in fuelling a deepening rift between former communist and Western members of the EU. The rift comes at a time as the EU is struggling with the aftermath of Britain’s decision to leave the bloc. Since the party won a parliamentary election in 2015, it has angered France over a cancelled army procurement deal and brought relations with Germany to their worth in nearly a decade. It is now facing EU action over what critics have called its authoritarian tilt. Poland has also been one of the leading voices in the region against migration, a view that it shares with President Trump along with a disregard for climate change and suspicion of international bodies.