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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Central Europe: The most important news from October 18 to 24

V4

  • According to a report published on theExpresswebsite on Sunday 17th October, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to organize a summit between the United Kingdom and the four countries of the Visegrád Group (V4) in early 2022, as the French -British relationships have tended to have worsened lately.
  • In contrast to the position of the European institutions (Commission, Parliament and ECJ), the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will continue business as usual until the formation of the government of her likely successor Olaf Scholz (SPD), advises caution in relations with Hungary and Poland and advocates dialogue instead of sanctions. “I think it is time to have a thorough discussion with the Polish government about how we can overcome these difficulties. We have serious problems, but I advise that we solve them through negotiations in order to find compromises, “she said on Friday 15 October after meeting her Belgian counterpart Alexander de Croo in Brussels.
  • The director of the Hungarian Center for Fundamental Rights, Miklós Szánthó, announced on Wednesday, October 20, the creation of an international organization, the Alliance for the Common Good (ACG), in which Hungarian, Polish, Czech, Slovak and Italian think tanks work together to “fight for Europe” at European level. “The main goal of the new organization […] is that Christian-conservative forces save Europe, because this is the only way to ensure the survival of civilization […] It is clear and tangible in Europe that the idea of God, family and home attacked worldwide and that sovereignist and traditionalist forces oppose globalist forces, while Europe denies the past,

Hungary

  • As the website Magyar Jelen reported on October 17, the government is introducing new health restrictions amid the so-called fourth wave of the pandemic spreading across the country. The quarantine regulations in schools are tightened and now also affect vaccinated people (students and teachers).
  • On Tuesday, October 19, the Hungarian oil company MOL inaugurated a new 15,000 cubic meter storage facility at its location in Csurgó (Somogy county – in the south-west of the country). The investment of 9 billion forints (25 million euros) is primarily intended to reduce the impact of its activities on the region’s environment. Thanks to this deposit, the oil is now transported via a pipeline to the refinery in Százhalombatta (Pest county), which replaces no less than 15,000 tanker transports per year, which, according to the company, avoids the emission of 7,000 tons of CO2.
  • Imre Kacskovics, Dean of the Faculty of Science at Budapest’s Loránd Eötvös University, told AboutRádióon Thursday, October 21 , that the Hungarian drug against Covid was already being tested on animals and that clinical trials could begin in early 2023: “We could identify new molecules that we believe are patentable, and this summer we were able to show that these molecules, these active substances, prevent the virus from infecting the cells “. According to the immunologist, this future drug could also be used for prevention.
  • The Hungarian Prime Minister’s spokesman, Bertalan Havasi, announced on Friday October 22 that Rassemblement National (RN) candidate for the upcoming French presidential elections, Marine Le Pen, would travel to Budapest on Tuesday October 26 to meet Viktor Orbán and Katalin Novák.
  • On the occasion of the public holiday on October 23, which commemorates the uprising of 1956, Fidesz organized a march in Budapest followed by a speech by Viktor Orbán, in which several hundred thousand people took part. The progressive opposition parties failed to gather more than 4,000 people, while the nationalist Mi Hazánk party gathered around 2,000 people.
Viktor Orbán in his speech on 23 October 2021 Photo: Visegrád Post / Ferenc Almássy

Poland

  • Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski’s (PO) push to ban the traditional independence march on November 11 was ultimately unsuccessful. The Warsaw District Prosecutor’s Office concluded on October 15: “It is impossible to regard the behavior of the participants in the independence march as anything other than the presentation of their own views, as an expression of political opinions that are skeptical of the migration policy pursued in Poland and Europe, or as an expression of opposition to communist ideology. It should be emphasized that the expression of opinion falls within the scope of the constitutional principle enshrined in Article 54 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and, for that reason, cannot be regarded as an act prohibited by Article 256 (1) of the Criminal Code.
  • Repeated claims by the Polish left-wing opposition keep alive the rumor that the government of Mateusz Morawiecki is preparing Poland’s exit from the European Union (Polexit), which both the government and the PiS also regularly deny. According to a recent poll conducted by and published by Rzeczpospolita,42.6% of Poles would like to see a referendum on the issue, while 36.9% are against it and 20.5% have no opinion on it. According to the same survey, 64.4% of Poles want to stay in the European Union, while only 14.8% are in favor of a Polexit, a minority option, at least for now. As a side note, the 25-34 age group has slightly more supporters (19%) than other age groups.
  • On October 17th, the National Bank of Poland (Narodowy Bank Polski) presented the prototype of the new 20 zloty banknote, which will be put into circulation for collectors from November 9th. The new banknote will show the portrait of Lech Kaczyński, the former Polish President from 2005 to 2010 – who tragically died in the Smolensk disaster – and the twin brother of PiS chairman Jarosław Kaczyński, and the mottoWarto być Polakiem ( It’s worth it To be Pole).
  • Given the criticism from European bodies of the fact that some judges of the Polish Supreme Court are appointed by the President on the proposal of a Judicial Council whose members are appointed by Parliament – which would call into question the independence of the said court – Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro dismissed (Solidarna Polska) on Monday, October 18, on Twitter that “politicians play a crucial role in the appointment of judges for the equivalent of the Supreme Court” in Germany and announced that he would “submit a motion to the Council of Ministers [ask] to initiate legal proceedings [and] bring Germany to the ECJ for violating the EU treaties by politicizing the judiciary “.” The rule of law is one of the pillars on which the European Union rests […] However, in order for all of this to work, we need equality of all states with regard to the rule of law,” he said on the same day, quoted byWirtualna Polska
  • The Polish MP Janusz Kowalski (Solidarna Polska), who on Thursday, October 21, from Do Rzeczywas quoted, sharply criticized the new resolution of the European Parliament, in which the judgment of the Polish Constitutional Court on the primacy of national law over EU law is condemned: “In an absurd resolution of the European Parliament, the Eurocrats attack the constitutional body of the judiciary – the Constitutional Court. They should pass their resolutions. We do our job! His colleague Witold Waszczykowski (PiS), former Foreign Minister, agreed: “This is a document that aims to stigmatize the Polish government, to create a bad atmosphere around Poland and the Polish government […] Der The purpose […] of such resolutions is to get the rating agencies toDo Rzeczy also published the list of Polish MEPs who supported the resolution against their own country.
  • published interview, the Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, attacked the Polish government and the Prime Minister again: “We are friends, we want cooperation and partnership with Poland. But it must be clear that although we are friends of Poland, we will be determined. […] Now the dispute has reached a new level. It is about the independence of the judiciary. Only in Poland did the Constitutional Court question the provisions of the European Treaty and attack the European legal order. […] In the current situation, the Commission cannot activate the payments to Poland from the reconstruction fund. The prerequisite for the payments is the execution of the ECJ ruling and the suspension of the disciplinary body of the Supreme Court. But there are also questions that need to be resolved at a political level. […] A state that violates the rule of law, that does not respect the independence of the judiciary, places itself outside the European Union. Only one person is happy about Poland’s behavior: Vladimir Putin.Gazeta WyborczaBut there are also questions that need to be clarified at the political level. […] A state that violates the rule of law, that does not respect the independence of the judiciary, places itself outside the European Union. Only one is happy about Poland’s behavior: Vladimir Putin.
  • The President of the European Parliament, Italian Social Democrat David Sassoli, announced on Wednesday October 20 that he had instructed the European Commission to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) for the failure to apply the regulation on the conditionality mechanism : “EU member states that violate the rule of law should not receive EU funding. The European Union is a community based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law. […] If they are threatened in a Member State, the EU must act to protect them, “he said.
  • A 31-year-old man was arrested in Poland on Wednesday October 20 for cutting a roadside cross with an electric saw in the town of Zielona Góra (Grünberg in Silesia, Lubusz Voivodeship). A video of the scene was posted on social networks.
  • German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) declared on Wednesday, October 20, that Germany – by decision of Chancellor Angela Merkel – will not strengthen the protection of its border with Poland to prevent the entry of migrants from Belarus from Belarus into Germany, despite the explicit request of the police unions and his Polish counterpart Mariusz Kamiński. In particular, this non-measure helps to increase migratory pressure on the Polish-Belarusian border, as the migrants from the Middle East accumulated on the Belarusian side want to go to Germany, the Polish authorities stress.
  • According to the latest Eurostat report, Poland issued 600,000 residence permits in 2020, which is 26% of the total number of residence permits issued in the European Union during this period. This makes Poland the EU country with the highest number of legal immigrants, ahead of Germany (313,000 or 14%) and Spain (312,000 or 14%). It should be noted, however, that 81.7% of the residence permits issued by Warsaw were issued to Ukrainians.
  • According to a report published by the Polish Statistical Office at the end of September, Poland’s GDP has increased by 38% since 2010, while the GDP of the European Union has only increased by 15% over the same period. At the same time, the Polish GDP per capita rose from 62% to 72% of the EU average.
  • On the sidelines of the European Council in Brussels, the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki met Marine Le Pen, the Rassemblement National (RN) candidate for the upcoming French presidential elections.
  • According to a survey by the Institute for Social Change reported by Do Rzeczyon Friday October 22nd, 78% of Poles support the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court, which reminds that European law only takes precedence over national law in the areas in which Poland has expressly delegated its sovereignty to the European Union. Only 10% of the respondents thought the opposite. It is noteworthy that not only 96% of PiS voters support Polish sovereignty, but also 82% of Civic Platform (PO) voters and 86% of Polska 2050 voters.
  • The Polish trade union Solidarność organized a demonstration in front of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in Luxembourg on Friday October 22nd to protest against the decision to fine Poland 500,000 euros per day for being interim Has not implemented the order to close the Turów opencast mine pending the final judgment. The chairman of the Solidarność trade union, Piotr Duda, called in particular for “resistance against these idiots who are cutting thousands of jobs today […] and want to withhold electricity from millions of Poles”, and referred to the Polish MEPs who opposed a resolution the day before had adopted their own country as “cowards” and “traitors”.
  • According to information released on Friday October 22nd, from The Guardianpublished, more than 34,000 Polish women have had abortions abroad since the Constitutional Court banned eugenic abortion (based on a diagnosis of a serious and incurable abnormality or disease of the unborn child) in Poland. In cases of rape, incest and life-threatening risks for the expectant mother, an abortion is still allowed. The Abortion Without Borders Association (AWB) even gives numbers that range from 80 to 200,000 per year before the ban on eugenic abortions, old numbers that keep popping up without anyone really knowing what they are based on. This association – the purpose of which is clearly defined by its name – organizes the travel and stay of Polish women who live in Germany, Spain, The United Kingdom and the Czech Republic wish to have an abortion. Another organization, Women Help Women, sends out abortion pills by mail. The ones fromGuar dian cited abortion favorable NGOs report that more than 1,000 Polish women traveled for abortion abroad and have received more than 18,000 abortion pills.
  • The draft law of the popular initiative “Stop LGBT”, which is supported by 140,000 signatories, will be discussed by Polish MPs on October 28th and 29th.

Czech Republic

  • Masks must be worn again in closed rooms. From the beginning of November, non-medical PCR tests will no longer be reimbursed by health insurers, and a Covid ID card will be required for restaurants and bars.
  • The Czech Finance Minister Alena Schillerová announced at a press conference on Monday, October 18, that her ministry would waive VAT on energy due to rising energy prices in November and December. The exemption, made possible by a provision in the Czech Tax Code, is expected to cost the state budget around one billion crowns (EUR 39 million) and could be extended in January through an amendment to the VAT law.

Slovakia

  • Chinese Foreign Minister’s spokesman Wang Wenbin warned Slovakia and the Czech Republic that China would have to take action if the two countries continued to invite the Taiwanese Foreign Minister.
  • Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok said that Slovakia should make itself heard in the V4, which not everyone likes. According to the minister, it is not in Slovakia’s interest to put the V4 above the EU or to let the V4 become a kind of anti-Brussels pole, even if he admits that the EU is far from functioning perfectly.

Slovenia

  • October 24 According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Slovenia is one of the countries with the lowest unemployment. According to the latest OECD data for September, Slovenia is one of the most economically and socially successful countries in the world with an unemployment rate of 3.9%, which puts it at the top of the list. At the end of September there were 66,122 registered unemployed at the employment agency, 4.6% fewer than in August and 21.1% fewer than in September of the previous year. The results show a remarkable recovery of the Slovenian economy after the crisis caused by the global pandemic, which would not have been possible without the effective poverty alleviation and other economic and social measures of the current government. The data from independent institutions thus show the undeniable success of the Janez Janša government, which cannot be denied by either the mainstream media or the opposition.
  • October 24 Prime Minister Janez Janša and Defense Minister Matej Tonin have received further death threats. Apparently the perpetrators are the same in both cases. The threats were mailed to them on Friday, in a letter threatening their liquidation and with larger-caliber bullets attached. The case is currently being investigated by the police. Like from one of the editors ofDemokracijaThe present photo file shows that the ball and the text in envelopes were sent to the private addresses of Janez Janša and Matej Tonin. Interestingly, in the case of Tonin, a little more care has been taken with the length of the text, which promises to be liquidated. The Prime Minister received an envelope containing, among other things, a photo of himself with a target and a photo of his family with a target, drawn by one or more unknown senders. The Prime Minister received a photo of himself with a target. Above the photo was a death threat and a warning that “teams are waiting for the command”. 

  • 23.10. Compared to the EU figures, Slovenia performs very well in the recovery of sovereign debt. The EU average debt-to-GDP ratio was 90.9%, while Slovenia’s debt ratio was 80% of GDP, making Slovenia one of the countries with stable public finances. It is important to emphasize at this point that we have taken out loans at a negative interest rate. The Ministry of Finance expects public debt-to-GDP ratio to fall to 76% by the end of 2023, which is comparable to 2014 and 2015, when we bailed out Slovenian banks.
  • 10/22 On Friday, Foreign Minister Anže Logar attended a meeting of C5 ministers in Vienna. He emphasized the important role of the European Union and the C5 in helping countries cope with the coronavirus pandemic and in setting the course for green and digital transformation. “Today’s exchange of reconstruction plans in our countries has shown once again how necessary it is for the C5 to work together in all areas of common interest. The challenges we all face are also reflected in the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, “said Logar. The C5 group, made up of the Foreign Ministers of Austria Michael Linhart, the Czech Republic Jakub Kulhánek, Hungary’s Péter Szijjártó, Slovakia Ivan Korčok and Slovenia’s Dr. Anže Logar, since its inception last year in the midst of the epidemic, has consolidated its position as an excellent forum for exchange of views and cooperation between Central European countries. The main topic of this year’s meeting of ministers from the five Central 5 countries in Vienna on Friday was the economic recovery from the C19 pandemic.
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