Saturday

10th Dec 2022

New Polish PM visits Hungary in snub to Brussels

  • Morawiecki (l) with Orban (r) at the December EU summit (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Poland's new premier meets with Hungary's Viktor Orban in Budapest on Wednesday (3 January) in a show of solidarity against EU criticism of their countries' joint backtracking on democratic values and the rule of law.

It will be Mateusz Morawiecki's first official bilateral visit since taking office last month.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Morawiecki holds talks with his Hungarian counterpart after the European Commission launched an unprecedented Article 7 sanctions procedure against Poland in December following Warsaw's failure to address the EU's concerns over its controversial overhaul of the judicial system that threatens to put the courts under political control.

Orban has already vowed to veto any possible sanctions – for instance the suspension of voting rights – against Poland which requires unanimity among EU member states.

Orban called the procedure against Poland "deeply unfair and unjust".

"It must be made clear to the EU that it is pointless even to start a procedure against Poland as there is no chance of seeing it through, because Hungary will be there and form an insurmountable road block," he said in a radio interview in December.

The meeting of the two prime ministers is seen as an act of defiance against the EU and Brussels, which both conservative-nationalist governments view as infringing their sovereignty, and endangering Europe's Christian traditions with its overly liberal policies.

Poland and Hungary, along with the Czech Republic, have refused to take in asylum seekers despite an EU decision in 2015 to do so, and as a result the EU commission has referred the countries to the EU's top court in December.

The commission has also taken Budapest to court over Hungary's laws on NGOs and on higher education that target the university in Budapest founded by US financier George Soros, whom the Hungarian government has launched a propaganda campaign against.

The two right-wing governments have so far refused to back down in the face of criticism from the EU.

The EU has struggled for years to temper Orban, who has cracked down on media freedom and the rule of law in Hungary, and is set to win a third consecutive term in office this spring.

With the EU short on tools to reign in governments that challenge common decisions and core values, there is increasing talk of linking EU funds to the respect of the rule of law , an idea supported by both heavyweights in the EU, Germany and France.

Opinion

How powerful is Poland's Morawiecki?

The new prime minister of Poland is on a collision course with the EU Commission as well as his party. His debut appearance - and early departure - at last week's summit indicates his future is up in the air.

Commission takes Orban's Hungary to court

The EU executive steps up several probes over Hungary's illiberal tendencies, while it is also suing Poland and the Czech Republic over migrant quotas.

Draft EU report calls for sanctions on Hungary

A draft report by the civil liberties committe says Hungary is at risk of breaching EU values. Orban's government claims this is an attack on his electoral victory.

Opinion

No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU

The European Commission has asked the member states' leaders assembling in Brussels next week for the customary end-of-year European Council to approve EU candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Doing so would be a mistake.

Exclusive

Borrell gets pension from MEP fund set for taxpayer bailout

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, is currently drawing a pension from a European Parliament fund that is some €400m in debt and may require a taxpayer bailout at a time of rising inflation and high energy costs.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU Commission silent on Greek spyware sale to Madagascar
  2. A plea to the EU from inside Tehran's Evin jail
  3. EU lets Croatia into Schengen, keeps Bulgaria and Romania out
  4. Energy crisis costs thousands of EU jobs, but industrial output stable
  5. Illegal pushbacks happening daily in Croatia, says NGO
  6. No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU
  7. EU takes legal action against China over Lithuania
  8. EU Commission shoring up children's rights of same-sex parents

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us