Macron angers Visegrád states
France's President Macron annoyed several participants at the EU summit with his comment that Europe was not a supermarket but a common destiny. His words targeted the lack of willingness on the part of some states to share the burden of relocating refugees. A meeting between Macron and representatives of the Visegrád group then ended without results. A salutary confrontation or the beginning of new divisions?
Will Hungary and Poland be barred?
Things could get very awkward for the illiberally inclined states of the EU with the Merkel/Macron duo in charge, political scientist László Lengyel comments in Népszava:
“Europe's grand coalition, formed by the social-liberal Macron and the liberal-conservative Merkel, is clearly determined to exclude Hungary and Poland from the EU. … The irresponsible EU policy that allowed illiberal countries to dismantle the rule of law and betray the EU's core values is a thing of the past. … The EU doesn't need states that question the common values and interests and are turning into autocracies. Hungary doesn’t contribute a thing to Europe any more! … In the first step Fidesz is likely to be excluded from the EPP [European People's Party]. … In the next step the EU funding supplies could be cut off and finally Hungary could lose its voting rights.”
Nothing worse than false harmony
Macron was right to disrupt the harmony at the meeting, the Süddeutsche Zeitung believes:
“Poland's government claims there is no conflict of values, and that the same values are simply being interpreted differently. It's no coincidence that this reminds one of the attempt in Trump's camp to repackage lies as 'alternative facts'. For that reason the Europeans' answer must be clear: no, the EU's values are not an amorphous mass. They are needed as a basic foundation of society. The Union is not a state, and it is not comprised of a single people. It promises mutual economic advantages, but this promise is not enough to hold this complex entity together. To do that requires the common ground of democracies and constitutional states. This dispute will not destroy the European Union. But what would be fatal is false harmony.”
The majority think like the Visegrád Group
Pravda, on the other hand, believes criticism of the Visegrád states misses the point:
“As a current study by the British policy institute Chatham House shows, the views of Europe's elites differ from those of the general public. While 56 percent of people in ten EU countries want to stop the immigration of predominantly Muslim refugees, only 32 percent of members of the elites think the same way. The question is: how long can you divide society and oppose the majority opinion? If you give people the feeling that you're acting over their heads, you only drive them into the arms of extremists. There are reasons for the guarded attitude to Muslim migrants.”