Poland takes a back-seat role in Belarus standoff (Financial Times)

On September 26, a star-studded concert will be held in Poland’s national football stadium in support of the Belarusians demonstrating against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko.

This will be just one of a series of events organised by the government under the slogan “Solidarity with Belarus”.  For many observers in Poland’s foreign policy community, however, no amount of razzmatazz can mask what they regard as a painful truth: that their country’s influence on the European stage is not what it used to be.

During the Maidan protests in Ukraine in 2014, Poland’s previous, centre-right government played a prominent role in shaping Europe’s response to the crisis. But years of authoritarian-tinged politics at home and dyspeptic diplomacy abroad under Poland’s conservative-nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS), in power since 2015, have taken their toll on relations with Warsaw’s traditional European allies.

Instead it has been Lithuania, which is substantially smaller than Poland, that has emerged as the key regional voice in shaping Europe’s response to the Belarus crisis.

You can read my report for the Financial Times here.