A proposal to form a federal union between Poland and Ukraine following the outbreak of war is being met with skepticism from a number of Polish conservative commentators, with the idea being described as a “boyhood dream” and a threat to Polish and Ukrainian sovereignty.
The debate was kicked off after Marek Budzisz, a columnist for the Polish weekly Sieci and an analyst connected with the think tanks New Confederation and Strategy and Future, called for a new federal union between Poland and Ukraine in an article for wPolityce.pl. He argued that the current war in Ukraine has evoked a powerful wave of reconciliation between Ukrainians and Poles and united them in a common purpose, which should lay the groundwork for the two nations to come together at a unique moment in history.
Budzisz believes that the time is ripe for bold decisions of the kind taken back in 1950 by Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet, whose political plan led to the formation of an organization that gave birth to the European Union.
However, many conservative commentators fear that calls for a federal union between Poland and Ukraine will strain Polish-Ukrainian relations and be used by Russian propaganda to set these two countries against each other.
The journalist and writer Witold Repetowicz tweets that Budzisz fails to produce any arguments for a Polish-Ukrainian union, as cooperation and reconciliation do not seem to be sound fundamentals for a joint state.
Najśmieszniejsze jest to, że w tym artykule właściwie nie ma żadnych argumentów za tworzeniem wspólnego państwa ani za tym, że Ukraińcy by tego chcieli. Bo pojednanie, współpraca etc. to nie plan budowy federacji. https://t.co/XBOvvEdDp8
— Witold Repetowicz (@WitoldRPL) June 7, 2022
Journalist Bianka Mikołajewska draws attention to how such ideas help Russia. According to her, any such proposal would show that Poland does not treat Ukrainian independence seriously.
2/3 To wspaniały prezent dla rosyjskich propagandzistów, którzy przekonują, że Polska nie traktuje poważnie państwowości Ukrainy, nie uznaje jej obecnego terytorium i tylko czeka, by jakoś ją sobie podporządkować. Teraz mają wspaniały argument:
— Bianka Mikołajewska (@BMikolajewska) June 7, 2022
Paweł Lisicki, the editor-in-chief of the influential conservative weekly Do Rzeczy, is also dismissive of the idea.
“How could Poland create a federal state with Ukraine while remaining in NATO and the EU, of which Ukraine is not a member? I do not believe Ukrainian elites want this. They are fighting for sovereignty so they have it for themselves. This is why I feel this idea is just nostalgia for the first Polish Commonwealth and projecting such wishful thinking onto Ukrainians,” says Lisicki.
Jan Fiedorczuk, also writing for Do Rzeczy, wrote that the proposal is made up of “dangerous fantasies” that undermine the raison d’etre of the right, which is the nation state. He argues that Poland’s structure as a unitary nation state is an asset that is envied by many in the West.
“It would be remarkably careless if we just gave up such an asset of our own free will, chasing dreams and boyhood fantasies,” he wrote.
Wojciech Golonka, also writing for Do Rzeczy, argues that Poland needs to build its own state “rather than dreaming of some reconstruction of history.” He indicated that he wants to see Poland building a modern state that all Poles can identify with rather than trying to create a new one with Ukraine.