18.5 C
Friday, June 9, 2023

Central Europe: The most important news from 9 to 15 August


  • On August 7, a decree came into force that relaxes the entry conditions for Hungary from a health point of view, as a simple negative PCR test is now required for entry. Non-European health passports (including from OECD and NATO countries, Russia, the Emirates, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey) are now recognised in Hungary.
  • According to a recent poll by the Századvég Institute for the daily newspaper Népszava, 42% of Hungarians believe that there is a risk of LGBT propaganda in schools, while 27% of opposition voters want to support the government’s position in the referendum on the Child Protection Act. In this case, Hungarians are overwhelmingly opposed to LGBT propaganda in the press targeting children (88%), as well as the idea of allowing minors access to gender reassignment surgery (91%).
  • The Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s Space Commissioner, Orsolya Ferencz, announced on Thursday, August 12, that the second Hungarian cosmonaut will travel to the International Space Station before 2025, i.e. within the next four years. The first Hungarian to participate in a space mission was Hungarian Air Force pilot Bertalan Farkas in 1980 on the Soyuz 36 and Soyuz 35 missions. At that time, he spent about eight days aboard the Salyut 6 space station. His mission at that time still has an impact today, because, as Orsolya Ferencz recalls: “Thanks to the mission of Bertalan Farkas, Hungary is still at the forefront of radiation measurement. Currently, the Hungarian radiation measurement system is still on the space station and is constantly in operation.


  • Several thousand people demonstrated on Saturday, August 7, in the Upper Silesian metropolis of Katowice against compulsory vaccination and the exclusion of residents. So far, the Polish authorities have not taken any steps in this direction, but statements by Health Minister Adam Niedzielski and, above all, Deputy Prime Minister and PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński suggest that Poland could also move in this direction.
  • The recent twists and turns in the political crisis in Belarus, which led Poland to grant political asylum to a sprinter from the neighboring country who had wrongly openly criticized her coaches, were on the verge of imposing sanctions, did not exactly help to improve the mood between Belarus and its western neighbors. The mayor of Minsk, Vladimir Kucharev – a close confidant of President Lukashenko – called on the capital’s supermarkets and shopping malls to remove products from countries that have imposed sanctions on the country, especially Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, from their “best shelves”. “Various countries have imposed sanctions on us – Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland – and their products (sweets, teas, biscuits, pastries) are on the best shelves in the shops! We say it bluntly: either the situation changes or we act. In my opinion, such a decision should be made at the level of the entire country,” he said.
  • Poland’s former Liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who has taken over the leadership of the opposition Civic Platform (PO), demanded on August 6 that Christian crosses be removed from schools and other public buildings where they had been placed in the 1990s after the fall of the communist regime. “Public places, be it the Sejm or a school, should be free of religious symbolism […] I want churches, not public offices or schools, to be the place where the faithful can meet and pray,” he said. Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek (PiS) reacted sharply to these provocative statements in a country that is very attached to its Catholic traditions – 90% of Poles are Catholic – “We have religious freedom in Poland, and it is the parents and the school management who decide whether there are religious symbols in school […] in accordance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Polish courts [… We have freedom, not the dictatorship of the left and atheism as in the West.”
  • A new twist in the difficult relations within the governing coalition of the so-called “united” right. On Tuesday, August 10, government spokesman Piotr Müller announced the dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin, who is also chairman of the Porozumienie party, an ally of the PiS, … due to serious differences of opinion on the implementation of the polish reorganisation programme.
  • At a press conference on August 9, a year after his re-election, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called for a normalization of relations between his country and Poland, with which, in his words, an “unofficial dialogue […] at various levels”. “We can see that the Polish authorities understand what swamp they are in, and we are sitting there with them […] Why should we fight with [Polish] companies or with the Poles? Why should we? They are normal people to live with.”
  • On Wednesday 11 August, the Sejm adopted at first reading the so-called “Lex TVN” law, which stipulates that radio and television stations broadcasting in Poland may not be controlled by a majority of companies based outside the European Union.
  • A great personality of the Polish Church, the former Archbishop of Warsaw-Praga (2008–2017) and special apostolic visitor to Medjugorje, Henryk Hoser, died on Friday, August 13, in Warsaw, where he was born in 1942.
  • In an interview published on August 8 by the conservative magazine Do Rzeczy, German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, commented on the conviction of Father Dariusz Oko for an article in the journal Theologisches on the gay mafia within the Catholic Church: “As a German, I am ashamed that in my home country it is possible again to to accuse and convict a Polish scientist of so-called sedition for exposing facts. In the context of what happened to a Polish scientist from Krakow, alarm bells should ring immediately among history buffs.”
  • On Tuesday, August 10, U.S. President Joe Biden appointed Mark Brzezinski as the new U.S. ambassador to Poland. This nomination has yet to be formally confirmed by the Senate. Mark Brzezinski is the son of Polish-American political scientist Zbigniew Brzezński, who served as U.S. National Security Advisor under Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, and the grandson of Galicia-born Polish diplomat Tadeusz Brzezinski, who was successively Polish consul in Lille, Leipzig, Kharkov, and then in Montreal, where he settled after 1945, when Poland was under Soviet occupation. Mark Brzezinski previously worked in President Obama’s administration, was U.S. Ambassador to Sweden (2011–2015) and was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 2009.


  • The Slovak health authorities decided on Wednesday, 11 August, to adapt the measures to combat the virus at regional level and – at least for the time being – to stop taking blanket measures for the whole country.

Czech Republic

  • Czech MPs on Monday, August 9, rejected a bill introduced by MP Karla Šlechtová (ANO) that would allow same-sex couples to have children. “If this had been approved, it would have set a serious precedent for other areas,” commented Christian Democrat Leader Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL, Opposition). As opinions on this issue were very divided, the main parliamentary groups – including Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party – had not issued any voting instructions.


  • Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the migration crisis at the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, where there has been a massive influx of migrants from the Middle East for several months. However, this situation also affects neighbouring Latvia, which also has a border with Belarus. Between August 6 and 8, 349 illegal migrants (mainly Iraqis and Afghans) illegally crossed the Latvian border from Belarus. As a result, the Latvian government decided on Monday, August 10, to declare a state of emergency on the Belarusian border, as Interior Minister Maria Golubieva announced on Twitter. This measure allows the Latvian army to reinforce border guards.


  • The Lithuanian parliament approved on Wednesday, August 11, the construction of a border fence with Belarus – 550 km of barbed wire, the cost of which is estimated at 150 million euros – to address the current migration crisis, as the Belarusian government organizes or at least facilitates the arrival of migrants from the Middle East at the border between the two countries by not resisting it. “The common border with Belarus must be consolidated and made credible as soon as possible,” said Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite. The fence, which resembles the fence erected by Hungary a few years ago on its southern border, is expected to be completed in a few months.
  • A protest demonstration against the health passport degenerated into an uproar on Tuesday (10th) in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.


  • 15.8. On the Feast of the Assumption of mary, the National Shrine of Our Lady is visited today by many pilgrims by the help of Christians in Bezje. Due to the epidemiological situation, they attended the main service in smaller numbers, but came throughout the day. During the main service, Metropolitan Stanislav Zore, Archbishop of Ljubljana, approached her and called on her to get vaccinated. In his homily, Zore emphasized the metaphor of the dragon who has directed all his power against the Church of Christ in its beginnings and in all epochs of its history. “Even in our time, the Church is not spared from resistance and attempts to wrech from her all that makes her alive in this world through her actions,” he said. He explained that the dragon is different today. He has adapted his appearance: “He shows himself to us in very different colors and tries to convince us by his colorfulness that he is benevolent. He wants to appear harmless so that we can let him near us. He has also changed his behavior. He destroyed, tortured, exiled and murdered. His actions were visible, he was easy to recognize.” Today, the dragon uses other tactics. “He works hard to impose a certain way of thinking on people, to convince them of the validity of certain ideas, by labeling everything that does not correspond to the way the dragon works as backwardness, as intolerance, as hate speech,” Zore said.
  • 14.8. Today, NSi Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Matej Tonin stated that the NSi believes that the PCT condition should be as widespread as possible. If this is not the case, there will be various exceptions and lead to confusion and dissatisfaction, he said. Thus, the PCT condition would be introduced for all schemes or all workers. In a statement to the media on the sidelines of the opening of the Strategic Youth Forum in Maribor, Tonin expressed his wish that Slovenia remain open in the autumn. “That’s why vaccination is the only real solution. For all those who have reservations, there are still tests,” he said. In his opinion, if we get adequate vaccination, we can maintain a normal way of life in the autumn.
  • 14.8. SAF members won the competition of the best snipers, which ended today in Germany after seven extremely hard days. The winning team Lynx 01 scored 2237 points. The seven-day competition for The best snipers in Germany has come to an end, and the SAF members have won after a tough competition. In the competition, the disciplines of accuracy, physical strength, land navigation, medical simulation and endurance were tested. The winning team Lynx 01 won the competition in a field of 27 teams from 14 countries, with the Turks taking second place and Latvia third. The Slovenian Armed Forces will report more on the competition and the remarkable performance at a meeting with journalists on Monday.
  • 12.8. Luka Dončić, one of the best basketball players in the world, who led the Slovenian national team to a very good fourth place at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, has signed the biggest contract in the history of Slovenian sport! He has agreed to play for the Dallas Mavericks for five years, for a total of $207 million. To be precise, he is left with about $125 million after deducting all taxes. The contract was brought to Ljubljana by a delegation from Dallas led by Mark Cuban, owner and president of the Dallas Mavericks.

Latest news

Related news