The End of the Polish-Hungarian Idyll? Of Course Not!

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By Ferenc Almássy.

European Union – Is it the end of the Polish-Hungarian idyll? Poland did not want Tusk to be reelected as president of the European Council, yet the other members of V4, including Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, also voted for him.

Let’s make it short and simple. Too much noise and unrest have surrounded this election which is not a real one, by the way. Many media hostile to the Visegrád group, or simply critics of any government involved in this affair, anticipated seeing a division within the Visegrád group on an EU topic.

It’s worth noting that the Visegrád group is not an absolute union of its members, but an organization aiming to help defend common interests and foster cross-border collaboration.

Passing quickly on the defeatism and blindness of some who throw in the towel at the mere mention of “defeat”, Hungary and Poland in particular have been leading for over a year a common fight that is much more ambitious than the election of a puppet president to an unknown institution of a moribund Union.

Let us therefore relativize the election of the German agent Tusk and try to understand why Orbán in particular did not vote against Tusk.

First of all, Tusk is Berlin’s man. And the European Union, although administered mainly in Brussels, is really led from Berlin and Frankfurt. The chairman of the ruling PiS Party in Poland, Jaroslav Kaczynski, said it well – just as the Polish MFA – that “the EU is headed by a single country, that is to say Germany, let us not be afraid to say it.”

The election of Tusk was thus pre-arranged, and the European party of which Orbán’s Fidesz is a member, the EPP, had issued a voting instruction to support Donald Tusk. PiS is not a member of this party but of the AECR.

Orbán, a clever equilibrist, can not always oppose the European elites, and he has to give himself some security – like maintaining his party within the EPP – to allow himself to cross the red line on other subjects. Like for example, in the case of the migratory crisis.

A tactical movement on the part of Orbán. He assured that he would not evade in his support of Poland in front of the European Commission – a much more important issue.

To all partisans of the Visegrád group, simply calm down and do not worry. The excitement around the re-election of Tusk is primarily a matter of Polish domestic policy; but all is well, the PiS can now rest assured as Tusk comes by this re-election to grill for the next elections. He could have returned to Poland, organized the opposition and prepared his re-election. Instead, he will become the European scapegoat for the Polish government in the coming years, and opposition to the PiS will have to continue its desperate struggle without the direct involvement of the only viable personality today able to oppose the government.

And Kaczynski and Orbán publicly reiterated that this affair did not change either of their plans, their friendship, or the Polish-Hungarian alliance.

Finally, to conclude, some Polish commentators have refrained from criticizing Orbán, and instead have sung his praises. Thus on wpolityce.pl, Lukasz Adamski compared Orbán to Talleyrand, saying that he had just taught a lesson of Realpolitik, after years of victories in great battles against liberal-libertarians and the Left. For Adamski, Orbán is a patriot who wants “concrete successes, not victories of romantic ideals”.

In short, this adventure of the Visegrád Group has not been harmed by this trivial matter, and the Poland-Hungary couple continues on well. Let’s stay tuned for the upcoming successes.

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