A new regional alliance – without Hungary

The 25-year-old Visegrad Group, also called the Visegrad Four, is supposed to be an alliance of four Central European states – Czech RepublicHungaryPoland andSlovakia – for the purposes of furthering European integration and advancing political, military, and economic cooperation.

As it turns out the Visegrad Four is dead.  In the last couple of months it has become clear that the Visegrad Four members fundamentally disagree on how to approach the EU, achieve energy cooperation and deal with Russia.  As always, Hungary is the odd man out.

Poland, by far the largest county in the group, is solidly pro-American and anti-Putin. Their GDP is larger than the other three members together, and Poland is a rising power with political ambitions.  Polish leaders are threatened by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, and want to play with the “big boys” of the EU – Germany and France. They have less interest and patience with the smaller countries of the region.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia have close cultural and economic ties and, having been invaded by the Soviets in 1968, they are genuinely worried about Putin’s Russia. They don’t like what they see in Hungary, and don’t seem to appreciate Orban’s unpredictable domestic and foreign policies.

Federal Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann (far left), Prime Minister  Bohuslav Sobotka of the Czech Republik, and Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico in Slavkov on 29 January 2015.

Federal Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann (far left), Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka of the Czech Republik, and Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico in Slavkov on 29 January 2015.

Mr. Orbán is positioning Hungary as a Putin ally and a sensitive and understanding friend of Russia.  Budapest is opposing sanctions against the Kremlin and Orban, just like Putin, has demanded autonomy for ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine.  He favors the federalization of Ukraine as the Russians do.

The tension between Hungary and its Visegrad Four partners is obvious.  On Mr. Orbán’s recent visit to Poland he got a cold shoulder.  Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz lectured him. Then she claimed that they had a “frank and difficult” conversation while she avoided eye-contact with the Hungarian leader at their press conference.

Even Orban’s conservative Polish pals have humiliated him.  They refused to meet him; he has become a pariah in Warsaw.

On 29 January, at the Baroque palace in Slavkov in the Czech Republic, leaders of three countries — Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia — signed a declaration of establishing a new regional platform, that they call the Slavkov Triangle.

Their initial goal is to improve energy and transport infrastructure, youth employment and cross-border relations.   Heads of government will meet every year, and the next summit will be held in Slovakia. Daily work will be coordinated by a tripartite working group of deputy foreign ministers.  The declaration was signed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka of the Czech Republik, Federal Chancellor of Austria, Werner Faymann, and Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico.

Budapest was not included. Mr. Orbán has not been invited.  The Visegrad Group is dead and Hungary is hopelessly isolated.

 

György Lázár

13 Comments

  1. Wow!!!

    What a poor attempt at propaganda.

    Poland is in fact the odd one out, playing America’s puppet. It is in fact increasingly the odd one out in the EU, given that most of Europe has had enough of picking up the tab for America’s neo-con, neo-liberal adventure in Ukraine.

    Czech and Slovak positions on Russia are in fact closer to Hungary’s.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-17/putin-s-guests-show-diminishing-eu-backing-for-sanctions

    How about some honesty for a change????

  2. Zoli, Poland has her own reasons not to like Russia. Russia is responsible for the loss of Poland’s leaders on that unfortunate flight to Moscow, the disappearance of several millions of Poles who lived in parts of now Ukraine. What happened to them during the time of Soviet Union? The Russian trick to kill off the Poles at the siege of Warsaw at the end of II WW? They never got their questions answered. Their radically bad opinion of Russia will not change in the next few thousand years in my opinion.

  3. Mr. Gyorgy Lazar has lost all Hungarian sympathy in my view the moment he decided to criticize Orban’s support for minority rights for Ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine and elsewhere, given that almost 100 years ago, 1/3 of all Hungarians and their descendents were condemned to live as a minority under hostile majorities. Autonomy, with language rights is a right granted to many historical minorities around the world as a way to protect them from asimilation. The French and Italians in Switzerland, the Germans in Italy, Basks and Catalans in Spain, the Swedes in Finland, just to name a few. So why does this author believe that ethnic Hungarians in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Ukriane do not deserve the same rights?

  4. Excellent comments by Zoli. Readers should be very careful. The author of this propaganda piece is not telling the truth. This article is part of the prapaganda and misinformation war against the Orban government waged by pseudo-liberal and pseudo-leftwing groups. They claim to protect democracy and human rights but in actual fact they are the biggest enemies of these.

  5. Hello Zoli,
    you sound like Habil. HFP seems to be getting better if it worth the trouble to troll and the attempt to despise.
    Nice try. ” How about some honesty for a change????”Hhmmm

  6. Zoli, írthatsz te itt bármit, egy pökhendi öncélú, tolvaj és senkiházi embert védesz.

  7. Dear Editor,

    your article here reads ‘The Czech Republic and Slovakia have close cultural and economic ties and, having been invaded by the Soviets in 1968, they are genuinely worried about Putin’s Russia. ‘

    Will you please clarify for the benefit of your readers that it was Warsaw Pact armies – including the Hungarian army – that invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968 and murdered 1,000 civilians, and not the ‘Soviets’ as the post states.

    Regards

    Simon Molnár

  8. Hi Richard.

    I made reference to facts in my two comments, which contradict statements made by the author of an article. If you call that “trolling”, then what does your comment qualify as?

    You made some personal attacks, trying to discredit me, but no substance. I sound like Habil? What is that to me? or to anyone? Does it change the fact I referenced, pointing out that Hungary is in fact in line with the wider EU position, while Poland is more of an outlier as a hawk? Does it change the fact that the author of this article lied about it, suggesting the reverse is true? Does it change the fact that he claims to be Hungarian, yet he took a position that is opposed to the rights of 2.5 million ethnic Hungarians living as a minority reaching the same level enjoyed by many historical minorities around the world, which implies that they do not deserve the same level of respect and the rights needed to prevent their assimilation, therefore their cultural disappearance?

  9. The 20th century saw Hungary on the wrong side of political decisions, WWI which ended with the Treaty of Trianon and Hungary loosing 2/3 of its land. WWII where they choose to ally themselves with the Germans which ended in 50 years of Russian occupation. And now 10 years of the Orban government and now a Hungary moves further from the EU and closer to isolationism and now allies itself with its former oppressor. One can wonder what was the 56 revolution about. Only time will tell if Hungary finds itself choosing the wrong side once again, but as we know history always repeats itself.

  10. Zoli is simply parroting what he is told with his supervisors watching closely. He is not a true representation of any of the externalized Hungarian populations or their wishes. Further, he is an obvious and quite straightforward shill.

    As to the matter of this new alliance? Why have we seen so much comment on Poland’s alignment and, in the end, they were not part of this new treaty organization? That is the only weakness in this report’s conclusions as to the isolation of the Hungarian state that I can see.

    The rest, well… especially here in the comments, is conjecture and empty postulation. But certainly a Putin-clone wannabe with aspirations to more than he is capable of managing may have rent the V4 rather cheaply and quickly.

    • “The rest, well… ”

      What else could it be? Even that is fair enough in the present circumstances. There are going to be vital changes and the deck of cards reshuffled . I mean globally. A big game and all the V4 together with Hungary is just a tiny part of it. Not just reshuffling the deck of cards but they need to reset the whole global control system or a total collapse or WW3 is inescapable. And then they will just pull them V4 apart. Who needs them any more? They are already dead. I think it’s correct. Whats next? No one knows. Not even those who shuffle the cards.

  11. Where is there any proof that the V4 is dead? I understand that they are not liking each other at the moment but they have meetings booked until May of this year according to the website. I get the reference that a new group is forming but is it really meant to replace the V4? Or is this just speculation or an opinion of the matter?

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