Visegrad meeting in Košice: little in common

The heads of government of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary met in the Slovakian city of Košice on Thursday. The focus was on Hungary, whose positions in foreign policy diverge considerably from those of its long-standing partners, especially on the issue of support for Ukraine. What did the meeting achieve, and is there still any point to the Viségrad format?

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Český rozhlas (CZ) /

Partners can't bring Orbán into line

Český rozhlas says the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have failed to bring their Hungarian Visegrád colleague to his senses:

“Orbán, who has shown in the past ten years in Hungary that he doesn't care about democratic rules and the rule of law, no longer even cares about the fate of Ukraine. ... Now Budapest is blocking financial aid from the EU to the tune of 18 billion euros, without which Kyiv would have to capitulate. ... Orbán, for his part, wants billions in funds from Brussels without having to go back to respecting the rule of law. The other Visegraders are supposed to help him here. The question is whether they will allow themselves to be instrumentalised for Orbán's game.”

Sme (SK) /

Confrontation with Orbán inevitable

In a symbolic gesture, host Eduard Heger gave Hungary's prime minister a Slovakian fan scarf to replace the Greater Hungary scarf with which Orbán recently made headlines. For Sme, this gesture failed:

“Symbolism in the sense of 'water under the bridge, we are friends again' only masks reality. We cannot avoid confrontation with Orbán and a kind of 'temporary hibernation' for Visegrád. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said even before the meeting that the summit would show whether V4 cooperation made any sense at all in view of Hungary's currently strongly divergent positions. ... At the EU summit in a few days' time, Prime Ministers Heger, Fiala and Morawiecki must come up with a clear answer to this question and to the question of whether Hungary should continue to receive money from the EU.”

Népszava (HU) /

No longer salvageable

This cooperation is no longer fruitful, Népszava concludes:

“The Slovak, Czech and Polish prime ministers didn't even try to persuade Viktor Orbán regarding the war. ... Their minimum goal was for Hungary's PM to declare that the Hungarian parliament would ratify Sweden's and Finland's accession to Nato. That he did, but he has now said the ratification will take place at the beginning of next year after affirming for months that it would take place this year. This is nothing more than another vague promise. The summit had no concrete outcome. It seems that no one is under the illusion any more that the Visegrád Forum can be salvaged.”