However, the Hungarian Prime Minister did not mourn the right-wing government in Poland for long. He soon found a new friend.
Slovakia and Hungary are very close. Orbán and Fico meeting
Specifically, the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, who visited Budapest on January 16, where he met with Prime Minister Orban and President Katalin Novak.
This is the second bilateral visit of the Slovak Prime Minister abroad – after the trip to Prague – since he took office in October. The talks covered European politics, migration, bilateral infrastructure projects, and the position on the Russian-Ukrainian war. Referring to the actions of the European Union under Art. 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) on Hungary’s violation of EU values, Fico announced that he would not allow Brussels to be punished to protect its sovereignty.
According to Urban The interests of the two countries are “99% similar”Budapest and Bratislava support each other in the areas of physical, economic and energy security.
– Political changes in Poland mean that Budapest must once again look for an ally that will block a European Council decision that requires unanimity. For a serious violation of European Union values in Hungary. Such a decision could, in the next step, lead to the suspension of that country's voting rights in the Council of the European Union. Fico's statement makes it clear that Slovakia will oppose such a decision – say Ilona Jesinska and Krzysztof Debek from the Oriental Studies Center (OSW).
He is currently in power, and in addition to making controversial statements about migrants and Ukraine, or calling President Čaputova an “American agent,” he is implementing criticized reforms such as reducing penalties for economic crimes and liquidating the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
But more importantly, Fico, like the Orbán of his time, wants to present himself in Brussels as a pragmatic politician. – Despite declarations of mutual support, the first summits held by the European Council after Fico's return to power showed significant differences in the approach adopted by Slovakia and Hungary in dealing with key EU issues. – OSW Analysts Explained.
For example, Bratislava, in contrast to Budapest, and despite using anti-Ukrainian rhetoric in the domestic arena, supported the start of accession negotiations with Ukraine and the creation of the EU Financial Assistance Instrument for the Kyiv Facility for Ukraine.
Moreover, according to OSW, Fico, by introducing controversial reforms in the country, He himself risks a lawsuit against the European Union for violating the rule of law in Slovakia.
– On the one hand he wants to secure Hungary's support if this happens, but on the other hand he is trying to distinguish himself from Budapest and emphasize his practical approach. Shows openness to collaborate with European Commission It shows a constructive attitude towards the main topics currently on the EU agenda related to support for Ukraine and its European aspirations – Gezinska and Dubek believe.
According to them, Fico's visit heralds a “significant improvement” in Slovak-Hungarian relations compared to those during the previous centre-right rule, when the issue of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia (which makes up 8.4 percent of the country's population) was an issue. Point of disagreement.
– It seems that the issue of minorities, which raises great controversy in bilateral relations, has faded into the background. The two leaders will focus on mutual political support in the European Union and try to activate the Visegrad Group – Conclusion of OSW experts.
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