Lithuanian political scientists - new Polish President Duda will seek closer ties with Baltic States

  • 2015-08-07
  • BNS/George East/VILNIUS

Lithuanian political scientists believe newly inaugurated Polish President, Andrzej Duda, will co-operate more with the Baltic States than his predecessor, Bronislaw Komorowski. 

"[Under Duda], there will be more dialogue about the threats from Russia, and more active work with regional partners," said Ramunas Vilpisauskas, the director of Vilnius University's International Relations and Political Sciences Institute.

According to Vilpisauskas, the Duda government will work closer with its neighbours, due to the historical background of the Law and Justice party, which he left after being elected as president on May 24, 2015.

Due to the Polish Constitution, the country's president cannot belong to a political party.

Like his predecessor in the Law and Justice party, former president Lech Kaczynski, Duda is seeking closer ties with the Baltic States. 

Kaczynski was killed in an air-crash in Russia in 2010.

Vilipauskas believes relations between Poland and Lithuania will "depend on Lithuania's settlement regarding the problem of name spelling in personal documents, which have been raised for years."

"Over past years, the most derelict thing was the personal connections between heads-of-state,” he said. “This is what has been mostly lacking.

“In general, Polish and Lithuanian interests in the region are the same. 

“Good personal relations between leaders would contribute to the course of strategic infrastructure projects.”
Margarita Seselgyte, another political scientist at the institute, added Poland's decision to focus on the Baltic region could also be determined by its disappointment in co-operating with the European Union.

She believes Poland is possibly disillusioned with the EU, which was represented by only France and Germany in the Minsk talks regarding the de-escalation of the Ukrainian conflict earlier this year.

"In his election campaign, Duda noted Weimar style cooperation does not always yield positive results for Poland,” she said. “Therefore, it is important to return to the Central and Eastern European format where Poland could achieve more.”

On August 6, 2015, Duda was inaugurated as Poland's 6th president since 1989. During the election earlier in the year, he secured 51.55 percent of the vote, defeating his predecessor Komorowski.

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