Publisher: Instytut Europy Środkowej
ISSN: 2657-6996
  • Beata Surmacz
  • Tomasz Stępniewski
  • Agnieszka Zajdel
  • Aleksandra Kuczyńska-Zonik
  • Jakub Olchowski
  • Konrad Pawłowski
  • Agata Tatarenko
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IEŚ Commentaries

Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 482
- Visegrad Team

Hungary to hold referendum and elections on same day in 2022

On December 1, 2021, the Hungarian National Assembly adopted a resolution on the organization of a nationwide referendum. It is to be held on the same day as parliamentary elections. However, parliament is likely to extend the state of extreme danger soon. This means that at the moment, it is impossible to establish the date of these proposed events.

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 480
- Visegrad Team

Hungary’s Eastern Policy and the Migration Crisis on the Eastern Border of the European Union

The Hungarian authorities, while expressing their solidarity with the countries affected by the migration crisis on the border with Belarus (namely Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland), do not recognize Alexander Lukashenko’s responsibility for causing it. The events on the eastern borders of the European Union did not in any way affect the Hungarian involvement in relations with the...

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Baltic Team, Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 475
and - Baltic Team, Visegrad Team

Slovakia resists construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

The Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipeline that is being built by the Russian company OAO Gazprom will have a significant impact on Slovakia‘s energy security. The country, like Ukraine, is concerned about limiting its role as a transit country, as well as Russia’s use of its monopoly position in Central Europe. Nevertheless, this is not a topic often raised in political debate....

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Baltic Team, Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 455
and - Baltic Team, Visegrad Team

Consistent increase in Hungary’s energy dependence on Russia

On September 27, 2021, Hungary signed a new natural gas supply contract with Russia, which would de-facto prevent the import of this commodity from any other location. The signing of the agreement is part of a consistent policy of the Viktor Orbán government, which is based on closer cooperation with Russia. The suggested alternatives (e.g., supplies from Azerbaijan) have so far...

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Baltic Team, Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 450
and - Baltic Team, Visegrad Team

Slovakia: price crisis and possible problems with access to natural gas

Currently, a significant challenge facing Slovakia is the rapidly growing prices of energy commodities, including natural gas. This problem affects not only large enterprises, but also individual clients. In addition to rising prices, the low level of filling of natural gas storage facilities is also worrying. Russia’s steps to reduce gas transport via Ukraine also directly...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 446
- Visegrad Team

Priority areas of Polish-Hungarian cooperation according to presidents Andrzej Duda and János Áder

On September 8-9, 2021, President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda paid an official visit to Budapest. It was the sixth visit of the Polish president to Hungary since 2015. During that six-year period, the presidents of Poland and Hungary met as many as 12 times, both as part of bilateral visits and in meetings of the Visegrad Group. Polish-Hungarian relations have been very...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 443
- Visegrad Team

The Hungarian national medicine factory will produce Russian Sputnik V and Chinese Sinopharm

On Monday, September 6, 2021, the groundbreaking ceremony for the national drug factory (nemzeti oltóanyaggyár) in Debrecen took place. The factory is to be launched next year and is also to produce vaccines against COVID-19, including the Russian Sputnik V and Chinese Sinopharm vaccines. The investment is expected to increase Hungary’s security in the face of the current...

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Baltic Team, Visegrad Team

Komentarze IEŚ 436
and - Baltic Team, Visegrad Team

The Three Seas Initiative ahead of the Riga Summit: politically inspired, commercially driven

Next year’s Seventh Summit of the Three Seas Initiative (TSI) will be held in Riga. In light of the main challenge facing TSI, which is finding financing for priority projects in the region, President Egils Levits announced that Latvia plans to focus on raising private capital to improve transportation, energy, and digital infrastructure in this part of Europe. A kind of...

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Balkan Team, Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 413
and - Balkan Team, Visegrad Team

Before the summit in Sofia: challenges facing the Three Seas Initiative

On July 8-9, 2021, Bulgaria will hold the sixth summit of The Three Seas Initiative (TSI). The meeting in Sofia will be an opportunity to summarize the achievements so far, but also to discuss the challenges facing the Initiative, which include, inter alia, real and potential conflicts, the slow pace of implementation of priority projects, the return of the countries of this...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 381
- Visegrad Team

Slovakia: The approach to the Sputnik V vaccine divides society

The purchase of the Sputnik V vaccine by the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Igor Matovič (OĽaNO), and the resulting government crisis has caused a clear division in Slovak society. Public opinion polls have shown very high approval for the use of the Russian vaccine, while at the same time scepticism about the AstraZeneca vaccine. On the other hand, a poll conducted after the...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 348
- Visegrad Team

Romania: 30 years of demographic decline

Romania is struggling with a demographic decline that has been going on for many years. Eurostat research shows that Romanians are among the youngest in Europe when they have their first child. However, this does not affect significantly the number of babies born each year. The reason for the difficult demographic situation in Romania is mass emigration, mainly to Western...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 347
- Visegrad Team

Slovakia: Political Crisis with Sputnik V in the Background

Slovakia has officially become the second EU country to approve the use of Sputnik V. According to the adopted plan, 2 million doses will be delivered to the country in the coming months. The decision was made by the prime minister, and the minister of health did not consult with the full government, which caused a serious political crisis within the government coalition. Indeed,...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 311
- Visegrad Team

The automotive industry in Slovakia has overshadowed by the COVID-19 Pandemic

The automotive industry is a key industrial sector in Slovakia. It is also the main source of direct foreign investment in the country. The situation in the automotive industry during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, when automotive manufacturers suspended car production, had a significant impact on the Slovak economy. On the other hand, the lockdown introduced by the...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 298
- Visegrad Team

The Hungarian government amends the Fundamental Law for the ninth time

On November 10, 2020, a draft amendment to the Hungarian Constitution was submitted. Justice Minister Judit Varga submitted the bill with significant but politically controversial changes to the Constitution to be processed while Hungary struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of danger (article no 53 in Fundamental Law) being reintroduced. State of danger again. Due to...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 292
- Visegrad Team

Hungarian veto EU budget – belief or strategy?

On November 8, Viktor Orbán sent a letter to the leaders of Germany, Slovenia, and Portugal, as well as to the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, informing them that if the EU budget and the Next Generation EU fund, dealing with the rule of law, where would be a Hungarian veto. A few days, later this veto was formalized during the...

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Visegrad Team

Commentaries IEŚ 278
- Visegrad Team

State of emergency and mass testing: the second wave of the pandemic in Slovakia

On October 1, the Slovak authorities introduced a state of emergency for the second time. This step was taken due to the rapid increase in the number of people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Further restrictions were implemented, concerning, inter alia, quarantines, organizing mass events, and a number of restrictions in schools and universities. On October 23, Slovakia began...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 273
- Visegrad Team

The impact of COVID-19 on the fiscal policies of the Central European countries

Within six months of the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central European countries spent nearly 10% of GDP on fiscal support. This decisive response by governments is mitigating the effects of the economic crisis, saving companies and preserving jobs. However, an increase in expenditure with lower budgetary revenues inevitably leads to a deterioration in the...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 253

(Dis)unity of the Visegrad Group countries in the face of the crisis in Belarus

The presidential elections in Belarus and the post-election protests have raised a discussion in Central European countries. The Belarusian issue was debated during the meetings of the Visegrad Group, including the V4 summit organized on September 11, 2020 in Lublin. The Belarusian issue highlighted certain differences within the Visegrad Group. However, there is still no...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 227
- Visegrad Team

“Back on track”: the Polish Presidency of the Visegrad Group in the shadow of a pandemic (Łukasz Lewkowicz)

On July 1, Poland took over the annual presidency of the Visegrad Group (V4) for the sixth time. In the program of the new presidency, the emphasis was placed on taking joint actions to return to economic and social normality. The most important element of the functioning of the V4 in the coming year is to stimulate the economy weakened by the pandemic. The tasks of particular...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 211
- Visegrad Team

“We didn’t write the past, the future is in our hands”: a new Slovak-Hungarian opening in the shadow of Trianon (Łukasz Lewkowicz)

June 4th marks 100 since the treaty was signed in Trianon, which resulted in the loss of a significant part of Hungary’s territory and population and in Slovakia being proclaimed as part of the newly created Czechoslovakia. In early June, Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok and Prime Minister Igor Matovič paid official visits to Budapest. Both politicians declare a new opening...

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Visegrad Team

IEŚ Commentaries 195
- Visegrad Team

Another tension in Romanian-Hungarian relations (Agata Tatarenko)

At the end of April 2020, the Romanian Parliament dealt with a bill aimed at establishing an autonomous region covering areas inhabited by the Hungarian-speaking ethnic group Székelys. The bill was rejected by the senate, however, the initiative caused a number of controversies on the political scene in Romania, including, above all, the statement of President Klaus Iohannis. The...

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Visegrad Team

Komentarze IEŚ 194
- Visegrad Team

State-owned enterprises in the Central and Eastern Europe in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic (Marlena Gołębiowska)

Economic crises usually mean a return to state interventionism and a more active role for the state as owner. It is no different today. The COVID-19 pandemic reopens the debate on state-owned enterprises. Due to the history of economic ownership, it has particular resonance in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Especially that in the region is increasingly announcing the...

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Visegrad Team

Komentarze IEŚ 184
- Visegrad Team

New Foreign Policy of Slovakia: Strengthening Transatlantic Orientation and Active Regional Cooperation (Łukasz Lewkowicz)

On April 19 Slovakian Prime Minister Igor Matovič presented the government’s program for 2020-2024, which was subsequently adopted by the National Council of the Slovak Republic on April 30. The anti-corruption activities, the reform of the justice system, and the pro-social policy constitute the central pillars of the new document. In the field of foreign policy, a clear...

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Visegrad Team

Komentarze IEŚ 14
- Visegrad Team

“Magna Hungaria” and “the Treaty of Trianon” in the Hungarian politics of memory: an outline of the issue (Agata Tatarenko)

“Magna Hungaria” and “the Treaty of Trianon” are two of several fundamental terms featured in the Hungarian politics of memory. Owing to a strong position they occupy in the cultural memory of Hungarians, they are a flexible substance for Fidesz and Viktor Orbán to base their actions upon and subordinate these to their present political objectives. These encompass e.g....

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Visegrad Team

Komentarze IEŚ 166
- Visegrad Team

Removal of the Statue of Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague: a crisis in Czech-Russian relations (Agata Tatarenko)

After several years of dispute, the authorities of Prague 6 removed the monument of Marshal Ivan Konev from the public space. The statue is to be sent to the not-yet-existent Museum of Memory of the 20th century. The conflict over the memorial related to the history of World War II indicates a deepening crisis in Czech-Russian reactions, in which Prague’s local government is...

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Visegrad Team

Komentarze IEŚ 162
- Visegrad Team

COVID-19 and the digitalization of Central Europe (Marlena Gołębiowska)

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has become a global stress test. The restrictions of social distancing have led the world to accelerated “lessons” in the areas of communication, digital skills, online activities, information technology for businesses and digital public services. Paradoxically, this could be a turning point in the digital transformation of the Central European...

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Visegrad Team

Komentarze IEŚ 157

COVID-19 Pandemic in Czechia, Hungary and Slovakia (Szczepan Czarnecki, Dominik Héjj, Łukasz Lewkowicz, Agata Tatarenko)

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the authorities of Czechia, Hungary and Slovakia to adopt a number of similar solutions such as strict lockdown or closing the borders. Decisive steps to limit and slow down the spread of COVID-19 have been undertaken in these countries earlier than in Western Europe. Each authorities have prepared an assistance package for domestic economies. At the...

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Visegrad Team

Komentarze IEŚ 155
- Visegrad Team

The Importance of Establishing a Consultative Council in Minsk from the Point of View of Settling the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine (Andrzej Szabaciuk)

On 11 March in Minsk, the Tripartite Contact Group on a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donbas (TCG) signed an agreement about the establishment of the Consultative Council: an advisory body in which representatives of Ukraine and the separatist republics should deal with the political aspects of the Ukrainian crisis. Information about the new Minsk agreement caused...

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