Central Europe ranks under the EU average in the market penetration of electric vehicles. But it doesn’t want to be left behind by the global trend, leaping into battery production and dreaming even bigger.
European union Member states have scrapped a Commission's plan to establish a system to tax internet giants like Google or Facebook. In a bid to break a deadlock, EU executive arm have called for a move to a qualified majority voting on tax issues. The V4 countries, however, clearly reject to kill national vetoes on tax policy. Their governments are now likely to bring in their own national digital tax laws.
As we approach the European Parliamentary elections, Eurosceptic political rhetoric in Hungary and Poland is once again rising. It is hardly surprising given the critical view the governing parties and their leaders, Viktor Orbán and Jaroslaw Kaczyński share towards the European Union and some of its policies.
Although the Visegrad Group’s members are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the collapse of communist dictatorships this year, multilevel EU procedures are ongoing against Hungary and Poland for rule of law deficiencies. According to the assessment of global democracy indexes, the quality of democratic governance fell considerably in the most eminent students of the democratic transition, while political and civil rights have also been restricted.
Member states, the European Parliament and the Commission successfully finished almost three years of negotiation on a copyright reform. The clashes were concerned primary to articles 11 and 13. Stances of the states differed a lot and the Visegrad countries were not an exception.
Although there basically isn’t anything like a specific chapter of V4-Turkey relations, all the five countries realize the importance of trade cooperation and strategic support. Yet, after Erdoğan tightened his grip to achieve even more power, Visegrad countries prefer to coordinate their positions on issues regarding human rights and civil society via Brussels.
“…touched by Beijing’s outspoken geopolitical interest in the region and tempted by the opportunity to use China as leverage against Brussels, Central and Eastern European countries failed to consider that they could make good use of some leverage against China as well. If CEE countries might be able to overcome their internal divisions and their innate passivity within the 16+1 cooperation dominated by Chinese initiatives, their foreign policy toolkit could enable them to reach better deals with China, and constrain Beijing in exploiting them at the expense of European foreign policy,” writes Dániel Hegedüs.
In Visegrad countries, decision makers prefer their historical favourites – coal and nuclear – to renewable sources and energy efficiency. The EU is now the only active and forceful agent that could help the situation, writes Ada Ámon.
The key issues for the V4 as far as the next Multiannual financial framework is concerned are the amount of subsidies allocated to it to converge with the more developed parts of the EU and the idea of tying payments to rule of law-related requirements.
Dynamics of cooperation in the V4+Ukraine format lost pace in the last two years and Kyiv puts hopes into the recently started Slovak V4 Presidency to change it. But Ukraine should understand better how the V4 acts and what the cooperation mechanisms and partners potential are, writes Hennadiy Maksak.
The fact that Poland, the Czech Republic or Hungary are moving away from the EU, pushing themselves to its margin, is of great importance to Ukraine. After all, Kyiv would like to be as close to the united Europe as possible – Kateryna Zarembo, deputy director at the New Europe Centre tells EURACTIV.pl.
The Visegrad Group is one of the best functioning groups within the European Union. Berlin recognizes this but at the same time it protects the EU's unity. In many areas, Germany and V4 are much closer to each other today than Germany and France – Dr. Kai-Olaf Lang, a political scientist and expert in Central and Eastern Europe at the Berlin Science and Politics Foundation (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik) told EURACTIV.pl.