Orbán and Kaczyński take the EU to task

Speaking at an economic forum in the Polish city of Krynica, PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński has called for a "cultural counter-revolution" to save the EU. Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán expressed similar ideas at the event. Some commentators note with an eye to the Brexit that the Eastern European leaders' critique of the EU is fundamentally correct. For others the two leaders are very much wide of the mark.

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Financial Times (GB) /

The future lies in a two-tier EU

The criticism voiced by the Visegrád states regarding the current structure of the EU shows once again that the Union is unsustainable in its present form, the Financial Times believes:

“The negotiations around Brexit should be used as an opportunity to create a two-tier EU that meets these concerns. The first tier could press ahead with much closer political integration, pursuing the longstanding goal of 'ever closer union' in Europe. The countries on the second tier would restrict themselves to participation in the single market and co-operation on foreign and security policy. ... It would be far better for European leaders to acknowledge that some of Britain’s complaints about the EU are quite widely shared. Rather than trying to preserve the current structures at all costs, they should design a new two-tier union that could, potentially, keep every­body happy.”

The Times (GB) /

A revealing analysis

The criticism made by Orbán, Kaczyński and others of the way the EU is developing is essentially correct, the Times believes:

“Europe is divided, however, over how and whether to talk about Brexit. The Visegrád Group of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic wants to seize the moment to examine what drove Britain away. Most western member states want Brexit kept off next week’s formal agenda to create a perception that the EU is focused on security and the future. ... Europe's failure to control migration or promote steady growth are precisely what alienated so many British voters. Their concerns are felt across the continent. Mr Orbán is guilty of pandering to the xenophobic right, but when he says successive crises have revealed western Europe as 'rich and weak' his analysis is hard to fault.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Eastern Europe right to defend itself

The EU is suffering from an unequal distribution of power and Orbán and Kaczyński are right to want to end this state of affairs, Rzeczpospolita comments:

“Western Europe has been defending itself against the 'backwardness' of its neighbours to the East for years. By engaging in a political battle of cultures it prevents the East from exerting due influence in the decision-making processes. The concentration of power within the EU is the main reason for the current crisis. It is aimed above all at blocking ideas from our part of Europe. This is what ultimately led to the Brexit. Because even Britain fell victim to this centralist policy.”

Newsweek Polska (PL) /

Orbán and Kaczyński misjudging the situation

The ideas of the two politicians run counter to Poland's interests, Newsweek Polska argues:

“Since de Gaulle's times integration has continuously advanced. A common currency was created and the current euro crisis is driving economic integration. The PiS is trying to reverse this trend, with the following result: because those countries that are already strongly integrated won't reverse this process Poland will increasingly be pushed to the fringes. Because this strengthens the role of international cooperation. And the influence of the EU institutions is weakening. … The problem: these same institutions are a guarantee for the balance within the EU that strengthens the smaller and weaker member states (because Poland is not a major power). … Basically these institutions are what ensures that the EU isn't dominated by Germany and France.”