Although V4 countries are rather partners than rivals for Baltics, there are some differences between both regions, such as in the case of euro, migration, democratic backsliding, security issues and approach towards Russia, said expert from the University of Tartu.
The most profound crisis facing the European Union today is the crisis of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. Other EU crises such as the refugee crisis or the Eurozone crisis have – at least for the time being – abated, and Brexit has turned out to be more of a costly annoyance for the EU than the existential crisis many had feared. But the crisis of backsliding on the rule of law and democracy itself in some EU member states – particularly in Central and Eastern Europe – shows no signs of abating. Indeed, the situation is getting worse.
While the V4 are the main beneficiaries of EU subsidies, and the insufficient use of EU funds remains one of the most burning systemic issues the region is facing, the Visegrád Group is nowhere near unified on the issue. The EU’s anti-fraud agency has limited leverage, as it is up to local law enforcement authorities to investigate cases where EU funds were defrauded.
The political atmosphere for the protection of rule of law and other fundamental values of the European Union appears to be in a cautious but positive change. Instead of rallying around the flag, European political groups started putting greater leverage on national member parties that are not complying with European values.
Coal phase-out is inevitable if the world wants to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The question therefore arises not whether to shift to the low-emission economy but when. And how to do that without leaving the people from coal-abundant regions behind. Visegrad Group countries still struggle with the when-question, while Poland is still on the whether-stage. Simultaneously, several regions in the V4 states pursue promising just transition projects.
After three years from the brexit referendum, the UK remains in a deadlock. The Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU have been not approved yet by the British Parliament. Meantime the European elections took place in the EU‘s Member States including the UK which is due to leave the EU by 31 October.
The V4 ignores climate threats, attempts to extend fossil fuel burning, violates air pollution limits and undermines the development of renewable energies. Visegrad+ Renewable Energy platform has been established to turn this trend around, ADA ÁMON of E3G writes.
What is the future defense cooperation in Europe going to look like and what will the role of Visegrad Group countries be? How do Germans look at the current development in Poland or Hungary? EURACTIV Czech Republic asked German international relations expert HARALD MÜLLER.
It is not about bias against any country but about the independence of European judicial systems, about if they deal fairly with cases filed, says German MEP JENS GEIER about the rule of law conditionality as regards the next EU budget, that faces outrage namely in V4 countries.
There was a time when Kiev perceived the Visegrad Group as an „advocate” of the Ukrainian case in the EU. Today, it prefers to pursue relations with them on a more bilateral basis, in an interview says Jurij Panczenko, expert of Ukrainian portal “European Pravda”.
All Visegrad Group countries declare their commitment to the enlargement of the EU and NATO, with a unanimous focus on integrating Western Balkan (WB) countries. This unanimity fades in relation to Kosovo, although according to Péter Szijjártó, a Hungarian MFA, “The more members we [the EU] have, the stronger we are”.
The fear in Berlin that the V4 acting as a blocking minority on more European policy dossiers has softened. Instead, German policy-makers and analysts are trying to identify common ground between Germany and the V4, while at the same time doing justice to existing national differences, writes Anna-Lena Kirch from the Hertie School of governance.