09 Jul

Baltic countries are more alert than Visegrad in the matter of Russia

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.

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Russian President at the glass dome of the under water vehicle 'Sea Explorer-5' in Baltic Sea. (EPA/Alexei Nikolsky/Ria Novosti/Kremlin)

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.

Informal meeting of the heads of the V4, June 2018 (TASR/MTI/Prime Minister’s Press Office)

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.

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) (EC/AV)

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.

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, arrives to deliver his speech at the European Parliament in 2012. (TASR/AP Photo/ Cedric Joubert)

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.

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