Saturday

23rd Mar 2019

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

Opinion

Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  2. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  3. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures
  4. Study: Brexit to cost EU citizens up to €40bn annually
  5. NGOs demand France halt Saudi arm sales
  6. Report: Germany against EU net-zero emissions target
  7. Former top EU official takes job at law firm
  8. Draft text of EU summit has Brexit extension until 22 May

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  2. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  3. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  4. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  5. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines
  6. Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election
  7. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  8. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us