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V ‑ 4 & Central Europe: The most important news from May 3rd to 9th



  • According to a poll by the Nézőpont Institute published on Tuesday May 4 by the daily Magyar Nemzet, 40 percent of Hungarians would currently vote for Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz, while 34 percent are for the coalition of the United Left. 58 percent of Hungarians say they are satisfied with the actions of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, while only 35 percent disagree.
  • The Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó announced on Tuesday, May 4th, that Audi Hungária will expand its plant in Győr (northwest of the country) with an investment of 3.8 billion forints (10.5 million euros), which is connected with a subsidy of 1.2 billion forints (3.3 million euros) and will lead to the preservation of 700 jobs. The German auto industry currently employs 170,000 people in Hungary and accounts for 30% of the country’s industrial production.
  • When asked by Euronews about the allegedly Fidesz-affiliated Hungarian press group KESMA (Közép-Európai Sajtó és Média Alapítvány), the Vice-President of the European Commission Věra Jourová replied on Monday, May 3rd: “Of course I would like to intervene. But the current competition rules are designed to handle much larger cases. And financially, the KESMA case in Hungary is too small, that is, the merger is too small in value for that. The competition rules are designed for bigger cases […] This frustration […] will lead us to think about better rules in the future. “To which Judit Varga, Vice-Chair of Fidesz, responded with humor:” Věra Jourová says she would like Hungary punish, but the rules don’t allow her to do so. The “sad” rules prevent politically motivated actions by Eurocrats. By the way: why is it so frustrating for a commissioner when everything works well in a member state? “
  • An Ipsos poll published on May 6 by the Szabad Európa website on their Facebook account confirms that the vaccination record is far from unanimous. And it is even the Hungarians who are most likely to speak out against it (42%), ahead of the Russians (34%), the Poles (32%), the Belgians (26%), the French (23%) and the Germans (20%).
  • Fidesz announced on Thursday May 6th the establishment of a Christian Democratic Institute (Kereszténydemokrata Intézet – CDI) with the aim of strengthening the party’s international role and promoting Christian Democratic values. The chair will be entrusted to István Barankovics and József Mészáros (KDNP), while the director of international relations will be Lorenzo Fontana, a member of Matteo Salvini’s Lega Nord.
  • Hungarian government spokesman Gergely Gulyás said on Thursday May 6th that health restrictions for people without a vaccination certificate in Hungary will remain in place until at least August. A few days earlier, he had also announced that a new vaccination campaign would be considered in nine months.
  • According to the 2020 Demographic Report released by the CSO on May 5 this year, the number of children of married couples reached 64,000 last year, an 18% increase compared to 2019 and the highest since 2006. This number does not reflect a general increase in births, but that couples who want to reproduce are now more likely to do so within a traditional family. At the same time, the number of children born out of wedlock in Hungary was 28,000 in 2020, the lowest figure in two decades. “The rate of births out of wedlock has risen steadily over the past few decades and more than doubled between 1990 and 2000 from 13% to 29%. The number and proportion of illegitimate children has decreased significantly in recent years. In 2020, almost 70% of children will be born to married parents and 30% to illegitimate parents. This is a significant change from 61–39% a year ago and 56–44% two years ago, ”the report said.
  • On Wednesday, May 5, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union failed to pass a resolution condemning China’s policy in Hong Kong – a former British colony with special status – particularly in connection with the current reform of the electoral code, as Hungary vetoed it appealed against the resolution. According to the Austrian public television (ORF), the Hungarian veto is related to several large joint projects between Hungary and China, including the upcoming establishment of a campus for the renowned Chinese Fudan University in Budapest or the construction of a high-speed rail link between Budapest and Belgrade that is funded by China. This is not the first time
  • The Secretary of State to the Defense Minister, Szilárd Németh, presented ten officers with their diplomas as “space soldiers” during a ceremony held at the University of Debrecen (in the east of the country) on Thursday, declaring that “space warfare”, like terrorism, is the illegal immigration or “cyber warfare” is one of the great global challenges of the 21st century.
  • After a meeting between the Hungarian Minister for Innovation and Technology, László Palkovics, and his Austrian counterpart Martin Kocher, the two politicians reiterated the resistance of the Austrian and Hungarian governments to the introduction of a Europe-wide minimum wage. “We accept the principles, we will look at the calculation methods, but neither of us can accept that it should not remain in the hands of the member states,” Palkovics said in a statement.


  • At the reception of his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Warsaw on Monday, May 3, on the sidelines of the celebrations for the 230th anniversary of the first Polish constitution, Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke with him about “Security in Ukraine”, the Russian-occupied peninsula Crimea and the Russian occupation of the Donetsk and Lugansk districts in eastern Ukraine ”and reaffirmed Poland’s support for Ukraine’s membership in NATO and the European Union. For his part, Mr. Zelensky invited Mr. Duda to the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, which will be held in Kiev in August. The celebration in Warsaw was also an opportunity for the Ukrainian head of state to meet with his Lithuanian, to meet Latvian and Estonian counterparts who also agreed to support him. The Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda declared: “Lithuania will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and will take steps to end the de facto occupation of part of eastern Ukraine […] In the Europe of the 21st century there is no room for new areas of influence, Negate the sovereignty of independent countries. “
  • A poll carried out by Latana for the annual Democratic Perception Index 2021 report shows that Poles see the US as a greater threat to democracy than China.
  • The City Council of Wałbrzych (German: Waldenburg / Silesia) – at the suggestion of Mayor Roman Szełemej – passed a (legally non-binding) resolution on April 29, stating that all residents of the municipality should be vaccinated against Covid. “With this resolution we want to get more residents of Wałbrzych to think that it is worth getting vaccinated in order to be healthy, so that they do not pose a threat to their loved ones,” said Szełemej, while many people are very negative responded to the initiative, with an impromptu demonstration in front of City Hall, the officials of which reportedly received death threats.
  • After a heated debate, the European Economic Recovery Plan (KPO), which granted Poland an aid package of 770 billion zlotys (169 billion euros) between 2021 and 2027, was approved by the Sejm on Tuesday, May 4, by 290 votes to 33 out of 133 Abstentions accepted, while all opposition amendments were rejected. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki defended the ratification: “Today we say a strong ‘yes’ to the development of Poland, to the prosperity of Poland thanks to the European funds. It’s a quick chance to escape the pandemic, ”he said. “Let’s leave the arguments aside, the logic of ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’. Today I appeal to all parties […] Today we are not only voting on the KPO. Today this act is an act about whether or not the European funds for the development of Poland will be adopted for the next decade, and this decision is one of the most important for the next 10 to 20 years. The other side of the coin: Of the 33 MPs who voted against ratification, 20 belong to the PiS majority faction – although this was announced a few weeks ago: 18 MPs from the small Solidarna Polska party led by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, and two PiS – MEPs, Anna Maria Siarkowska and Małgorzata Janowska – against which the PiS parliamentary group leader Ryszard Terlecki, announced possible sanctions for this indiscipline (but no sanctions against the MEPs of Solidarna Polska, who belong to the same parliamentary group,
  • The annual inflation rate in Poland has risen sharply in recent months, reaching 4.2% in March and 4.3% in April, while experts are predicting a rate of 5% for this May. However, this sharp increase, mainly due to the price of fuel at the pump (+ 28.1% year-on-year), which fell at the start of the pandemic last year, is unlikely to be permanent.
  • However, the Monetary Policy Council (MPC) decided on Wednesday May 5 to keep interest rates unchanged, with the Lombard rate remaining at 0.5% since May 29, 2020. According to the MPC’s statement, the National Bank of Poland “will continue to buy treasury and state-guaranteed debt securities on the secondary market in structural open market operations”.
  • According to a United Survey for Wirtualna Polska poll published on Thursday May 6th, Jarosław Kaczyński’s PiS would lose its majority in the Sejm, but still (with 35.4% of the vote or 211 seats) the Poland’s largest party, followed – and this is the big surprise – by Szymon Hołownia’s party Polska 2050 (20.4% and 109 seats), while the Civic Coalition (KO), which was formed around Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform, and now by Boris Budka, in which opinion continues to decline and only 15.1% of Poles would receive support. It is followed by the Lewica (Die Linke) coalition with 10.4%, the nationalist Konfederacja party with 5.7% and finally the Polish Peasant Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL) with 5.1%.
  • The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), Bulgarian Evgeni Tanchev, published his Opinion on Thursday 6 May on the complaint of the European Commission against Poland regarding the disciplinary body created as part of the judicial reform. According to him, “the Court of Justice should declare that Polish legislation on the system of disciplinary responsibility of judges is contrary to European Union law”.
  • Following the action of a Polish company (Xero Flor sp. Zoo), whose appeal was rejected by the Polish Constitutional Court, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) sentenced Poland on Friday 7 May for believing that his constitutional court was “unlawful” by the executive and legislative branches, which violated the right of the society in question to “a legally enshrined court” and also reminded them, due to “irregularities in the appointment” of one of its judges – in this case Professor Mariusz Muszyński that the Polish President Andrzej Duda (PiS) “refused to swear in three [constitutional] judges who were legitimately elected in October 2015”. The ECHR is therefore of the opinion
  • As part of the measures against the coronavirus epidemic, the University Hospital Gdańsk (Dt. Danzig / Pomerania) announced on Thursday, May 6th, that visits to hospitalized patients are no longer allowed for unvaccinated people: Person can be visited, whereby the visit time may not exceed 10 minutes. The visitor must prove that he has been vaccinated twice. MEP Anna Maria Siarkowska (PiS) has announced an appeal to the right-back on this matter.
  • The vaccination campaign against the coronavirus is being intensified in Poland. According to the Polish Ministry of Health, 403,398 people were vaccinated on May 7th alone. A total of 13,034,348 people in Poland had been vaccinated since the start of the vaccination campaign as of Friday, May 7th. According to statistics from the Polish health authorities, so far there have been 7,358 cases of side effects (0.056% of the cases).
  • The series of measures taken by the European Commission against Poland seems to be bearing fruit, although perhaps not quite in the direction originally desired. According to a Eurobarometer poll published on Thursday 6 May by the daily Rzeczpospolita, 50% of Poles still trust the European Union while 38% do not. For comparison: 78% of Portuguese say they trust the European Union, as do 74% of Irish and 70% of Latvians, 59% of Hungarians, 58% of Romanians, 50% of Slovaks, 48% of Germans and Czechs, 41 % of Austrians and 39% of French.
  • Poland and Hungary have had the term “gender equality” removed from the statement made by the EU heads of state and government at the Porto summit on Saturday 8 May. “We Christians consider the word ‘gender’ to be an ideological expression, the meaning of which has not been clarified at all […] That is why we do not want to mix this ideological dispute with the strong commitment to equality between men and women,” said Viktor Orbán.


  • Slovak Finance Minister and former Prime Minister Igor Matovič announced in a Facebook post on May 1 that he intends to take action to improve families’ financial situation and expressed concern about demographic developments over the past few decades. Igor Matovič therefore suggests “trying a last-minute miracle and turning Slovakia into a country where young people are not afraid to start a family – where a family is not afraid of having another child…”
  • Taking advantage of the high profile government crisis in Slovakia in March, the opposition parties launched a petition calling for a referendum on holding early elections. This petition has so far been supported by 585,000 signatories and was handed over to the Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová on Monday 3rd May, who now has 30 days constitutionally to set the date for the referendum, while her spokesman, Martin Strižinec, said that Ms Čaputová would wait until it was verified that the said petition had been signed by 350,000 Slovak citizens. Former Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Hlas-SD) is already calling for a referendum: “A referendum is a sovereign right. I want the doubts whether the people have a right to such a referendum. Since the power of the delegate comes from the people, the people have the right to ask him to shorten his term of office ”.
  • 21% of Slovaks have received at least the first dose of the Covid vaccine and 270,000 people are registered for an injection, which worries proponents of mass vaccination who fear that there will be no one who wants to be vaccinated by the end of May, although the vaccines are available.
  • The Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger visited Vienna.
  • The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave an extensive interview to the conservative Slovak portal Postoj.

Czech Republic

  • The Czech public television announced on Monday, May 3rd, that the vaccination certificate would be tested in the Czech Republic in the second half of May. As previously announced, the document will exempt holders of quarantine and PCR tests, even when crossing borders between EU countries, while the tests will now be universal, accessible, fast and free, “as free tests are not currently available in the Czech Republic are guaranteed.
  • Due to the current legal situation, which de facto forbids abortions in Poland except in rare cases, some Polish women are now seeking abortions in the Czech Republic. In this context, the State Secretary of the Polish Foreign Ministry, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, said that abortions offered to Polish women in Czech clinics are “an encouragement to violate the rights of Polish citizens” and could affect bilateral relations between the two countries while a representative of the Polish embassy in Prague, Chargé d’Affaires Antoni Wrega, has reportedly asked Czech Health Minister Jan Blatný to speak out against a corresponding bill: “If we cross the border, that is the end of Polish law – we cannot break Polish law when we are abroad […] If a country had a law that forbids Polish women from having an abortion there, it would be this is a discrimination against Polish women. It is simply not possible, especially since we are in the European Union […] If we cannot go to the Czech Republic, we will go to Great Britain, we will go to the Netherlands – we will have an abortion anyway.
  • The Czech Republic is starting to relax anti-Covid measures. On May 3, some students (elementary and secondary schools) in seven of the fourteen regions of the country were able to resume classes as usual (the school year starts a week later in the other regions), while shops will reopen from May 10 as well as certain services (especially hairdressers) if the test is negative. Finally, on May 17th, the restaurants are expected to be able to reopen.
  • The Czech Republic will demand compensation from Moscow for the 2014 explosion of the ammunition depot in Vrbětice, for which it blames the Russian GRU.
  • History and cartography experts from the Czech Academy of Sciences put a Czech Historical Atlas on the Internet at the beginning of May, which offers dozens of interactive historical and thematic maps from the Middle Ages to the present day. The site is available in Czech and English and can be accessed free of charge. Eva Semotánová from the Historical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences told the Czech Radio: “We have tried to highlight the most interesting areas that illustrate what has happened in the past on the territory of our country. For example borders and territories, religion and belief, populations, landscape and people.


  • On May 3, Prime Minister Janez Janša visited the General Hospital in Slovenj Gradec (German: Windischgrätz), where he inaugurated the newly renovated premises of the Covid-19 department and discovered, among other things, that the coronavirus epidemic is not over yet. “Slovenia achieved just over a quarter of the vaccination coverage with the first dose of the effective Covirus vaccine. However, based on the delivery announcements, which are relatively optimistic for the coming weeks, we can realistically expect that sometime in mid-June we will reach a vaccination rate that will successfully stop the epidemic, ”he said.
  • On May 3rd, the Slovenian initiatives Katedrala Svobode, Zbor za republiko and Awaken Slovenia sent an open letter to the European media warning that false rumors about the restriction and submission of the media have been circulating in Slovenia since March 2020. In the letter they call on the foreign media to stop their one-sided propaganda and to find out more about the situation in Slovenia.
  • On May 4th, representatives of Slovenian mobility companies wrote a public letter in support of the transition to digital mobility in Slovenia in advance of the handling of the Road Traffic Act in the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. The letter was signed by representatives from AV Living Lab, Avantcar, GreenGo (T2 Rotolab), GoOpti, Porsche Slovenia, Renault Nissan Slovenia and the Economic Interest Grouping (GIZ) ACS – Slovenian Automotive Cluster, which brings together Slovenian automotive suppliers.
  • On May 5, the coalition unofficially announced that it had collected 47 signatures for the nomination of the new President of the National Assembly because the current President was a member of the opposition. The new President of the National Assembly should be Jožef Horvat, a member of the Nova Slovenija Krščanska ljudska stranka (New Slovenia – Christian People’s Party, abbreviation: NSi).
  • On May 6th, the Minister of Health, Dr. Janez Poklukar announced that there is now a new way to register for the vaccination against Covid-19, either via the zVem portal or via the website cepimose.si, which also provides more information about the vaccination and vaccines against Covid-19. 19 can be found.
  • On May 7th, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša attended the Social Summit, a conference organized by the Portuguese Presidency in Porto, Portugal. “The best social policy is a policy of creating new, well-paid jobs. For such a social policy, we need a school system that not only teaches young people a lot of knowledge, but above all how they can use this knowledge, which is so abundant today, correctly and innovatively, ”Janša said when he arrived at the conference the media.
  • On May 8, an MP from the center-left SAB branded the old Slovenian historical symbol of the Carantan panther as Nazi. He opposed the government’s decision to use cufflinks with the symbol as one of the protocol gifts during the EU Council Presidency. MEP Marko Bandelli believes that it is a symbol that is both “Nazi” and unrelated to Slovenia, despite all historical facts to the contrary.
  • On May 8, the 20 percent vaccination coverage with the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine was exceeded in all statistical regions of Slovenia, the National Public Health Institute said.
  • On May 9, an event was held in the center of Ljubljana / Laibach to commemorate Victory Day in World War II, with the left Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković at the helm, where the Yugoslav flags with the red star were once again waved, because the left used the event to glorify partisanship and communist totalitarianism.

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