Home World News With the war in Ukraine, the Poland alliance

With the war in Ukraine, the Poland alliance

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“A Pole, a Hungarian, two brothers, for a sword and a glass. » The medieval proverb came true very well, starting in 2015, when the Polish PiS party came to power and espoused the doctrine of “illiberal democracy” defended by the Fidesz of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The two countries, implicated by the European Union for their cuts on the rule of law, protect each other, in the face of sanction procedures which require unanimity. Alas, the good understanding is no longer since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

Summit canceled due to discord

Poland has become the biggest logistical hub for sending arms and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The Hungary of Viktor Orban, who seeks a 4and consecutive term following the legislative elections on Sunday 3 April, for its part prohibited the transit of arms through its territory.

→ ANALYSIS. Hungary: will the war in Ukraine complicate the re-election of Viktor Orban?

On energy too, the two countries are heading in opposite directions. Budapest has ended the extension of sanctions on imports of Russian hydrocarbons. Conversely, Warsaw has pledged to stop importing Russian coal by May, and Russian oil by the end of the year.

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Divergence translates into action. The Polish government, imitating the Czech executive, decided not to participate in a summit of defense ministers from the Visegrad group (known as “V4” and bringing together Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary), Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 March in Budapest.

The meeting was simply canceled, inflicting a snub on Viktor Orban. “This policy will cost him dearly”, already warned Polish President Andrzej Duda on March 26. Since then, critics have rained. Deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw, Marcin Przydacz, denounced the “myopia” of the Hungarian Prime Minister.

The Cracked Visegrad Group

To justify her defection at the Budapest summit, which holds the rotating presidency of the “V4”, the Czech Minister of Defense, Jana Cernochova, was undoubtedly the most severe. “I have always supported V4 and I am very sorry that cheap Russian oil is more important to Hungarian politicians than Ukrainian blood”she declared on Twitter, while specifying that she did not want “join the campaign” Hungarian.

The Czech Republic, which has just given a Russian diplomat 72 hours to leave the country, had already started the movement, in April 2021, by dismissing 18 agents from Moscow. “Together with our allies (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland, editor’s note), we are reducing the presence of Russian intelligence services in the EU”welcomed the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jakub Kulhánek, on Twitter.

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In thirty years, the volte-face of the Visegrad group

Built at the fall of the Soviet bloc on the desire to integrate the European Union, the Visegrad group has become an alliance of resistance to the policies of Brussels, at the turn of the refugee crisis of 2015, to refuse reception quotas . The war in Ukraine reveals a less united front than it seems. Hungary was not part of the delegation of prime ministers sent to Kyiv in mid-March to bring their “unequivocal support”.

Slovakia, which has adopted the single European currency, does not have the same interests as its allies. Cracks are appearing including on rule of law issues. The Slovak government of Igor Matovic leads a policy of strengthening the judicial system and the fight against corruption.

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