* Slovakia: PM Robert Fico and other politicians enticed by the promises of the EU Core will be challenged by the Slovakian people, who prefer to follow the V4 Core. If Fico desires the EU Core, he may have to follow the career path of Donald Tusk, who will not be returning to Poland any time soon.
** The first half of the article focuses on the relationships and attitudes between the people of Visegrad. Despite the author’s attempt to find division where it does not exist, it is clear the people of Visegrad like and respect each other.
*** The second half of the article focused on the attitudes of the four nations towards Visegrad. The poll revealed the majority of people believe that cooperation within the V4 is very important and that the group should pursue united economic and political interests.
1. Up to three-quarters claimed that western European countries do not treat them as equal partners. This feeling is most visible in Slovakia (79%). We do not believe Slovakians are behind Fico’s desire to follow the vision of the EU Core.
2. Slovaks, Hungarians, Poles and Czechs also support closer cooperation within the V4 group. Their biggest concern was migration, particularly the protection of the external EU borders.
3. They support the Hungarian plan to build a border fence and disagree with the EU migrant quotas.
4. As many as 65 percent were against the idea of giving up their national currency, although the majority of Slovaks claimed they are satisfied with the euro.
5. They favor strong cooperation regarding industrial policy and the construction of highways. This is good news for the future of the Three Seas Initiative.
**** The V4 Report understands that Slovakia cannot ignore issues related to the euro. However, we would caution their leaders about embracing the EU Core dominated by the “developed economies” of France and Germany.
Many Visegrad and CEE nations, including Slovakia, are considered “emerging markets”. They are some of the fastest growing economies in the EU and this is expected to continue in the future. However, they will have different needs and goals than the more mature economies of Western Europe. We do not believe “EU policies” designed in Brussels for the main benefit of Germany and France would necessarily be the best medicine for Central Europe. In fact, it may actually hurt their competitiveness and slow their growth. [Note: Developed and emerging are used in this context to describe markets/economies, not other measures of society]
Moreover, “top speed” is not necessarily an advantage, especially when the EU Core Express is headed in the wrong direction. The members of this EU Core will be expected to participate in the ongoing relocation of migrants from Africa and the Middle East, something Robert Fico insists he will defy. Fico will soon discover that he cannot embrace the EU Core without accepting their “shared solidarity” on migration.
We do not know Fico’s thought process or his future plans, but he cannot accept the EU Core without sacrificing the will of the people who elected him to defend their interests, culture and way of life. The Slovakian people will clearly reject this. Slovakia’s core is the V4.
Partnerships such as the V4 and Initiatives like the Three Seas can provide the foundation to prosper, while defending the culture, beliefs and independence of the region.
It is Robert Fico who may soon find himself isolated. Just like Donald Tusk.
Onward V4! Stay strong and united.