The European Union is a political alliance built over top of NATO. Specifically it was built over the top of NATO by Europeans who purposely see Europe as needing to unite as an entity to balance out the US as a trade bloc. In the past decade some EU politicians have advocated for an “EU” military, which other politicians have said, “The EU military is NATO!” in response.
I don’t normally put too much stock in Vox reporting, and consider this two minute brief a very simplified explanation, but just because they aren’t totally right about why Russia is invading Ukraine doesn’t mean they are wrong either:
Despite being an overly simplified explanation of why Russia is doing what Russia is doing, it does acknowledge indirectly that many Russians view the fall of the USSR as an affront to Russia as a “loss of territory.” This is why Putin’s approval ratings skyrocketed, as he is seen by a majority of Russians as righting historical wrongs done to the Russian empire.
So armed with this information, that there is large scale Russian support for restoring the borders of the USSR to “restore Russian glory and prominence” we come to Poland. And here is why I don’t put too much stock in Vox reporting, as this piece on Poland is presented without any context as to why Poles would freely elect “far right” leadership.
To understand why the Poles would elect “far right” leadership that focused on Polish nationalism, you have to understand the resurgence of Russia does not stop with nibbling away at Ukraine. From the Polish perspective, the EU offers no assurances at all that there is any protection from Russia simply by being a member of the EU. To understand why it happened in 2015, you only need to see that Crimea happened in 2014, to Poland’s southern neighbor Ukraine.
But, this sort of political consequences are not limited to Poland. Angela Merkel has come out in favor of an EU Army: https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-emmanuel-macron-eu-army-to-complement-nato/
Whether Merkel sees an EU Army as a way to minimize US influence, and maximize German influence on the continent is up for debate, but it is quite clear that the Poles have no faith in an EU Army to prevent Russia from nibbling away at the former “Soviet Bloc” that was kept behind the iron curtain.
So what is there to do? As always there are multiple courses of actions to consider. On the extreme end is the dissolution of NATO, or at least the US withdrawl from NATO. That would largely leave Europe in charge of European security issues. On the other extreme end is building permanent US bases in the Baltics and Poland, which would very much “poke the bear” as Russia still views those nations as well within the Russian sphere of influence and possibly territories to take back. No matter what the EU does in terms of creating an “EU Army” (which they cannot afford to actually be an effective Army with their other financial obligations), you’ll see a bifurcation again of military preparedness east of Germany from the Baltics to the Black Sea as every nation does their best to discourage Russian incursion.