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.
The French perspective on Visegrad has gone through a certain amount of evolutions since the summer of 2015, which marks a turning point in going from a relative unknown to an object of increased interest, albeit not necessarily for positive reasons.
From the Westerns’ point of view we, with the policy of open arms, expected the new members to come in and accept not only the acquis, but also to accept all visions of the EU. Then came the realization that they are not fitting in what the West was expecting, says French political analyst.