Poland’s eurosceptic Law & Justice (PiS) party claimed a decisive victory in the country’s parliamentary elections on Sunday, bringing to power a government with senior figures that have said they would push for an opt-out of EU climate policies.
Such an opt-out would mean companies in Europe’s third biggest emitter would no longer be regulated in the EU ETS, though analysts have dismissed such a drastic move as renegotiating the terms of Poland’s EU membership as political posturing.
Piotr Naimski, a senior MP from the party, said in August that “Poland quitting the ETS “is not impossible”, adding that a failure of a UN climate deal in Paris this December would be in Poland’s interests.
Earlier this month PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said the country should have many more power plants to keep pace with rising demand for electricity if Poland’s economy develops quickly.
“We have to fight for this in the European Union. As to the climate package renegotiation is needed. We should not have agreed to that, it could have been vetoed,” Kaczynski said at a televised briefing in the town of Konin, home to a lignite coal-fuelled power station.
Exit polls suggested PiS was on course to take an unprecedented majority in the parliament, with 39.1% of the vote and a projected 242 of 460 seats in the lower house.
Official results are due on Tuesday at the earliest, but the election looks set to consolidate the party’s position following President Andrzej Duda’s surprise poll win five months ago.
PiS campaigned on a eurosceptic, anti-immigration and anti-market platform, promising to accelerate GDP growth to 5% from 3.5% recently, in order to boost employment in the coal-dependent nation.
Read Carbon Pulse’s briefing on why a combination of changes to EU lawmaking procedures and a new hardline Polish government come to a head raise the prospect of Poland’s EU opt-out. This could in turn trigger more ambitious climate policies among the remaining 27 nations no longer restrained by a government that has consistently sought to weaken climate action.