The rise and shine of Visegrad

Posted by DanielS on Sunday, 01 January 2017 04:57.

EUObserver, “The rise and shine of Visegrad”, 30 Dec 2016:

The Visegrad leaders have made their voices heard on the EU stage.
         
From left to right, Robert Fico, Beata Szydlo, Bohuslav Sobotka and Viktor Orban. (Photo: Czech government)

The name of a quiet medieval town in Hungary – Visegrad – has in recent times become synonymous with the word “rebellion” in Brussels.

Others, particularly if they are from one of the four countries in the loose association of the Visegrad Group, might argue that it stands for “alternative”.

  V4 countries are trying to weigh in on the EU’s soul-searching process which was launched at a summit in Bratislava in September. (Photo: Kurt Bauschardt)

The group, also known as V4, was formed in Visegrad in 1991 and is comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. It has remained relatively obscure for almost 25 years.

Then the migration crisis hit.

The EU’s inability to handle the crisis, combined with a tilt in the power structure within the union after the Brexit vote and increasingly bellicose and eurosceptic leaders in Hungary and Poland, has thrust the group to the fore.

In 2016, V4 leaders have pushed for a change in the EU’s migration policy and has refused to accept asylum seekers under the EU’s quota system. They also called for reform of the EU after the Brexit vote.

“The V4 basically fulfilled the role it was created for in the first place, to be a powerful lobby organisation.” Daniel Bartha, the director of the Budapest-based Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy, told Euobserver.

“It now holds on to a significant number of votes in the European Council to offset Germany.”
The original sin

Diplomats refer to a meeting of interior ministers in September 2015, when the four states were out-voted on migrant quotas, as the “original sin” that emboldened the group.

The V4 countries disagreed with the mandatory part of the system - even though in the end Poland, under its previous government, did not vote with the rest of the Visegrad nations - and particularly disliked how the European Commission rammed through its German-inspired proposal.

A year after the migration quotas were introduced, Slovak prime minister Robert Fico declared the idea politically dead. “Quotas today clearly divide the EU, therefore I think they are politically finished,” he told journalists while his country was holding the rotating EU presidency.

Eastern EU states were not the only ones that did not like the quota system, but they were the most vocal about it, with Hungary and Slovakia challenging it in the EU Court of Justice.

Strong anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from the Visegrad leaders was initially criticised, but eventually the focus of the EU’s migration policy shifted from taking in asylum seekers and distributing them fairly, to reinforcing border control and shutting down migration routes.

The issue has finally forced the realisation in the corridors of the Berlaymont, the EU commission’s headquarters, that V4 countries could not be ignored.

But as one EU official observed, commission president Jean-Claude Juncker still surrounds himself with a small circle of close aides and is less open to influence from the V4.

The official gave the example of the commission proposal on “posted workers”, which would require companies from the eastern EU to pay as much to their workers sent to Western Europe as their western counterparts.

In principle, the proposal makes sense in a single market, and some Western European states have long objected to easterners undercutting local wages. But 11 national parliaments objected to the commission’s proposal, the bulk of them eastern nations. The commission decided in July to move ahead with the proposal anyway.
After Brexit vote

The Brexit vote was a shock to the EU, but it reinforced the V4’s presence.

It has been interpreted as a vote against the ruling elite and mainstream politics, a public sentiment that Hungarian and Polish leaders have been successfully exploiting. Those two nations took it as a sign that the EU needs to change, and they were ready with an alternative.

“The European Commission hasn’t fully understood what happened in the British referendum,” Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo told reporters in July, when her country took over the V4 rotating presidency.

“The EU needs to return to its roots. We need to care more about the concerns of citizens and less about those of the institutions.”

Similarly, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban said in June that democratic legitimacy for the EU can only come from the member states.

“We have to return to the notion that the basis of the EU is not its institutions, but the member states. The democratic feature of the EU can only be reinforced through the member states,” he said after the British referendum.

There is yet a concrete proposal, but in the Slovak capital in September, the 27 member states kicked off a soul-searching “Bratislava process” to explore how the EU could be reformed to win back citizens, and the V4’s ideas are bound to be influential.

“After Brexit, the EU’s political centre of gravity has shifted towards the east,” said analyst Daniel Bartha.

“France has had a declining economy since the early 2010s, so it has been less potent in offsetting Germany’s dominance on the continent. New power centres are destined to emerge in the union.”

But the V4’s rise in EU politics might only be temporary, as many issues divide the four nations and would hamper their ability to influence EU politics.

“The harmony only exists from the outside. Migration is the key issue where the four agreed. On everything else – for instance energy – there is little agreement,” said Bartha.

He cited as an example relations with Russia – a friend to Hungary but still regarded as a threat in Poland.

And Slovakia’s government has largely muted its opposition to EU migration policy during its presidency of the EU Council.

EU officials have suggested engaging with the “more reasonable” elements within the V4 – Slovakia and the Czech Republic – to separate them from Poland and Hungary whenever possible.

“They need our gestures. It is that moment,” argued one EU official.



Comments: None.



Post a comment:


Name: (required)

Email: (required but not displayed)

URL: (optional)

Note: You should copy your comment to the clipboard or paste it somewhere before submitting it, so that it will not be lost if the session times out.

Remember me


Next entry: Kevin Crehan, 35, jailed for leaving bacon in front of mosque then executed by Muslims in his cell
Previous entry: President Klaus Iohannis Blocks Nominee Slated to be Romania’s First Muslim Prime Minister

image of the day

Existential Issues

DNA Nations

Establishment Problem

Categories

Links

Endorsement not implied.

Immigration

Islamist Threat

Anti-white Media Networks

Audio/Video

Crime

Economics

Education

General

Historical Re-Evaluation

Controlled Opposition

Nationalist Political Parties

Science

Europeans in Africa

Of Note

Comments

Heidegger and Descartes commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Fri, 20 Oct 2017 02:35. (View)

The Sackler's commented in entry 'Big Pharma Pushes Opioid Epidemic on West Virginia, the Poorest and Whitest part of America' on Thu, 19 Oct 2017 22:35. (View)

Critique of Football Lads Alliance organizers commented in entry 'Football lads of various clubs, families, joined by vets to march in London protest against terror' on Thu, 19 Oct 2017 21:54. (View)

Taintng Iranian Renaissance with "Alt-Rght" commented in entry 'Why I Left the Alt-Right by Jason Reza Jorjani' on Thu, 19 Oct 2017 08:10. (View)

New Republic asks about role of White women in WN commented in entry 'Dark Side of Self Actualization & Incommensurate GenderAgendas' on Thu, 19 Oct 2017 01:44. (View)

Jewish family making billions from opioid crisis commented in entry 'Big Pharma Pushes Opioid Epidemic on West Virginia, the Poorest and Whitest part of America' on Wed, 18 Oct 2017 00:09. (View)

Catalan secessionist leaders jailed commented in entry 'Catalan referendum, explained: What's behind the push to break from Spain?' on Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:07. (View)

Jordan Peterson on hygienic aspect of racism commented in entry ''White privilege' as a warrant for expropriation; Christianity as the executing jurisdiction.' on Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:33. (View)

DanielS commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:53. (View)

DanielS commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Tue, 17 Oct 2017 05:20. (View)

Captainchaos commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Tue, 17 Oct 2017 05:01. (View)

DanielS commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:56. (View)

(((Trump admin))) liking objectivism for the Fed commented in entry 'Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Libertarianism and the “Alt-Right” (PFS 2017)' on Tue, 17 Oct 2017 03:46. (View)

Captainchaos commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Tue, 17 Oct 2017 02:30. (View)

mancinblack commented in entry 'Full speech of V. Orbán: Will Europe belong to Europeans?' on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:28. (View)

Kurdish PKK at war with Iraq commented in entry 'Kurdish Female Sniper Dodges Headshot; laughs it off' on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:16. (View)

DanielS commented in entry 'Worst mass shooting in US history as gunman opens fire from above killing 50+ Vegas concert goers' on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 11:59. (View)

Support for those going to Court commented in entry 'Jez Turner - Honour our Heroes' on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:49. (View)

Swarm at Hungarian border fence commented in entry 'Full speech of V. Orbán: Will Europe belong to Europeans?' on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:26. (View)

thought captors kidding that Trump is president commented in entry 'US opens first permanent military base in Israel' on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:19. (View)

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn commented in entry 'Solzhenitsyn’s 200 Years Together: Russia & the Jews - Obstructions Continue' on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:55. (View)

(((LaurenSouthern))) antiracist anarcholibertarian commented in entry 'Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Libertarianism and the “Alt-Right” (PFS 2017)' on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 03:46. (View)

Orbán maintains a link with Hungarian diaspora commented in entry 'Full speech of V. Orbán: Will Europe belong to Europeans?' on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 00:47. (View)

DanielS commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 19:14. (View)

DanielS commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 18:03. (View)

Guessedworker commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 16:37. (View)

Guessedworker commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 16:33. (View)

Guessedworker commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 16:01. (View)

Captainchaos commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 15:16. (View)

DanielS commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:55. (View)

National-Satanist commented in entry 'Angela Nagle: they think voluntary outbreeding is genocide. Cultural Marxism, Jewish porn! lol.' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:40. (View)

National-Satanist commented in entry 'Angela Nagle: they think voluntary outbreeding is genocide. Cultural Marxism, Jewish porn! lol.' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:38. (View)

Guessedworker commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:11. (View)

DanielS commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:00. (View)

DanielS commented in entry 'Pragmatism as ethnonationalism's tool against radical skepticism' on Sun, 15 Oct 2017 07:56. (View)

affection-tone