Abstract This article examines the impact of the European Union (EU) on competition policy in Poland in the pre‐accession stage. It explains the variation in the Europeanization of antitrust and state aid policies assessed on the basis of compliance with EU accession criteria: while antitrust legislation was incrementally harmonized with the EU acquis, it took almost ten years to introduce law regulating state aid. Drawing from rational choice institutionalism it is argued that compliance is a function of a structure of domestic veto players combined with their preferences. This study of Europeanization in Poland shows that compliance with EU accession criteria was conditioned by domestic political economy. It also points to two characteristics of the Polish political system: party system instability and emergent euroscepticism.
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