By Nick Thorpe
BBC News, Warsaw
The apparent heavy defeat of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party in the Polish general election will be largely welcomed inside the European Union.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski admitted defeat after exit polls were published
Under his government, Poland has earned a reputation in Brussels as a trouble-maker, fiercely defending its own voting rights, threatening to veto the new Reform Treaty and undermining initiatives that enjoyed almost full support among other member governments.
When an attempt was made to declare a European Day against the Death Penalty, the Polish government proposed instead a day to affirm life, underlining their own anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia message.
Relations with Germany were particularly fraught, with Polish leaders referring often to World War II.
'Too little time'
Elsewhere in central Europe, the Polish government won some credit for standing up to what is often seen as the condescending attitude of the old towards the new members.
And there are significant groups in other former Communist countries who agree with Mr Kaczynski's party that former communists should have been purged from public life.
A government headed by Donald Tusk's Civic Platform is likely to play a calmer, more co-operative role within the EU.
After the publication of exit polls, there was a feeling at the Law and Justice Party's campaign headquarters that it had too little time in office to achieve their aims.
It appears damaged, but not defeated by this result.
Lech Kaczynski, the outgoing prime minister's twin brother, has three more years as president, and the Law and Justice Party have already promised to be as tough in opposition as they were in government.