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Bulletin PISM

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Editors: Sławomir Dębski (PISM Director), Bartosz Wiśniewski (Head of Research Office), Rafał Tarnogórski (Managing Editor), Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka, Anna Maria Dyner, Aleksandra Gawlikowska-Fyk, Sebastian Płóciennik, Patrycja Sasnal, Justyna Szczudlik, Marcin Terlikowski, Tomasz Żornaczuk

23 March 2017
no. 30 (970)
U.S. Policy towards NATO: Continuation with Risk of Change
U.S. pressure on Allies to increase defence spending to at least 2% of GDP may lead to a strengthening of NATO, but also entails a risk of weakening transatlantic ties. The Alliance and its members, including Poland, should also expect further calls for greater involvement in the fight against terrorism. Further funding for U.S. actions aimed at strengthening NATO’s Eastern Flank is yet to be specified. U.S. policy towards Russia remains unclear too.

Artur Kacprzyk
22 March 2017
no. 29 (969)
Protests in Belarus
Recent protests in Belarus pose a challenge for the authorities, because along with slogans calling for improved social conditions, which appeared for the first time since the 1990s, the demonstrators have increasingly formulated political demands. So far, the Belarusian authorities have reacted in a limited manner by imposing administrative sanctions almost only on the opposition activists. In the near future, the intensity of the demonstrations will probably continue and may turn massive. Violations of human rights by Belarusian authorities is possible. Moreover, new events may prompt Russia to engage in the country directly.

Anna Maria Dyner
21 March 2017
no. 28 (968)
Threats to Security in East Asia
The political and security situation in East Asia increases the risk of internal destabilisation in individual countries, regional militarisation and conflicts. It is likely that China will strengthen its position. The long-term effect might be a modification of regional order, which is currently based mainly on the presence of the U.S. as security guarantor. In the shorter term, the developments in Asia might convince the U.S. to increase its interest in the region at the expense of other parts of the world. 

Justyna Szczudlik
15 March 2017
no. 27 (967)
Prospects for Turkey-U.S. Relations in the Context of the Syrian Civil War
Turkey hopes for an improvement in its relations with the United States during Donald Trump’s presidency. The intensive political dialogue between the two allies suggests that the U.S. also wishes for that. However, their different approaches to the Syrian civil war may be a serious obstacle to reach that aim. A lack of understanding on that issue may induce Turkey’s actions, which would complicate the fight against the Islamic State. In the longer-term perspective, it may also strengthen anti-Western sentiments in Turkey and weaken the country’s engagement in NATO. 

Karol Wasilewski
14 March 2017
no. 26 (966)
Germany’s Migration Policy Correction: Distancing from Extreme Proposals
The mass-migration crisis that enveloped Germany in 2015 has had consequences for ruling party CDU, mainly costing it support. It also increased the popularity of extreme right-wing party Alternative for Germany, which demands a drastic tightening of the country’s immigration policy. Instead of the extreme measures, Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided on a revised approach that combines tightening immigration laws, greater protection and monitoring of borders, and increasing deportations of people refused legal protection in Germany. Merkel’s policy has brought positive results, but the price for it is seen in cracks in the ruling coalition and even within her own party.

Miłosława Fijałkowska
09 March 2017
no. 25 (965)
Romanians Protest Changes in Anti-Corruption Law
The largest protests in Romania since 1989 have been caused by the interpretation of two emergency government ordinances as an attempt to paralyse the fight against corruption, which has been effective for a few years now. Although the government withdrew the projects, the demonstrations have continued, with protesters seeing it as just a temporary concession. They fear the ruling parties, which have politicians threatened with criminal trials, will undertake a new attempt to change the country’s anti-corruption laws. The credibility of Romania as an international partner could be undermined by a deterioration of its image in this respect and that also would have negative repercussions for Poland.

Jakub Pieńkowski
08 March 2017
no. 24 (964)
Multiannual Financial Framework Review: Implications for Poland
Completed 7 March 2017, the mid-term revision of the EU’s finances does not introduce profound changes to the common budget by 2020. However, it does affect other features of the financial framework, including increased flexibility and clearer links between EU finances and Community priorities. This signals deep reform of spending beyond 2020 and is likely detrimental to Poland’s EU income. Drawing on previous experience with the MFF, the Polish government should use the period before the start of negotiations on the next financial perspective to minimise the risk of negative changes and to promote its budget agenda.

Patryk Toporowski
06 March 2017
no. 23 (963)
EU at a Crossroads: European Commission Lays out 5 Scenarios for the Union’s Future
Ahead of the European Council summit on the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, the European Commission has prepared a white paper on the possible paths of EU development. The vague content of the document, though, reflects the uncertainty amongst the Member States, although the first reactions of Western European politicians favour the multi-speed Europe scenario. For Poland, especially as long as it remains outside the euro area, it will be important that EU discussions be inclusive and non-discriminatory.

Patryk Toporowski, Jolanta Szymańska
03 March 2017
no. 22 (962)
Strengthening Deterrence in the Black Sea Region

Russia’s development of its offensive capabilities in the Black Sea region could pose a threat to NATO. Yet Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey each have different perceptions of the threat, making it difficult for the Alliance to strengthen deterrence policy in the regional dimension. Although NATO is gradually adjusting its forces in response to the new strategic situation, the credibility of deterrence depends on the rotational presence of U.S. troops.

Wojciech Lorenz
01 March 2017
no. 21 (961)
The Prospects of Freezing the Conflict in Donbas
The almost three-year-long war in eastern Ukraine (Donbas) could become another frozen conflict in the post-Soviet area. The reasons for this are the lack of agreement between Ukraine and Russia on the future of the region and Moscow’s support for the Donbas administration by, for example, giving military support and recognising the civil documents the region issues. Russia has experience leveraging conflicts of this type and using them to further its foreign policy aims. At the same time, Russia has become hostage to the conflict in Donbas, which for Poland leads to further destabilisation of the EU’s eastern neighbourhood.

Agnieszka Legucka


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