The 2004–07 EU enlargement towards the post-communist region showed that the long waiting for EU membership could impact on levels of public support for the EU. This article examines citizens’ trust towards national and international institutions after joining the EU in Poland, in comparative perspective. In the post-Communist region, levels of trust towards national institutions are generally lower compared to the European and international ones. Politicians and political parties are the most distrusted actors, undermining the social and political fabric in the region. An overview of political participation and levels of trust with focus on national data sets and the European Social Survey shows that levels of trust are quite low and a share of the population is concerned with sovereignty vis-à-vis EU integration. This analysis addresses how the relationship between citizens and institutions have changed and how this may affect not just the EU’s policies towards candidate countries and third countries, but how it can also affect citizen participation during the process of democratization and after joining the EU.

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