Merkel meets Visegrád leaders in Bratislava
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met with the leaders of the Visegrád countries Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in Bratislava. The five states agreed to cooperate more closely after relations between Germany and the V4 soured as a result mainly of the dispute over refugee policy. The media take a positive view of the rapprochement.
Don't react to provocations
The Frankfurter Rundschau applauds Merkel for maintaining a dialogue with the Visegrád leaders:
“Only with them, not against them, will she be able to prevent authoritarianism and intolerance from gaining the upper hand in these countries. There's no point allowing herself to be provoked by the statements of Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki or Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán. Such comments reflect fears of losing touch with a Europe dominated by Berlin and Paris. Warsaw, Budapest, Prague and Bratislava regarded the agreement recently signed in Aachen on even closer ties between Germany and France with suspicion.”
Cordial relations between Slovakia and Germany
We'll miss Merkel when she makes her departure, Pravda writes:
“Relations between the V4 and Germany have been tense ever since the refugee crisis in 2015. But there are also differences among the V4 states. Slovakia has no reason to distrust Berlin. The fact that Merkel came to meet the V4 in Bratislava but stayed away from Budapest when Hungary led the group testifies to her positive relations with Bratislava, and vice versa. Slovakia is pursuing a very pragmatic course vis-à-vis Germany, unlike Poland to the north and Hungary to the south. Merkel's visit to Slovakia was no doubt her last one as chancellor. In any event the role she has played in Europe will only become really clear when there are no more resolutely pro-European statements coming from the Western European capitals.”