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Slovakia between the EU and the Visegrad Four

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The so called “Visegrad Four” (“V4”) cooperation includes the Central European countries of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The V4 represents a strong Central-Eastern European interest group within the EU. Slovakia could be a strong member of the Visegrad Four cooperation, but the current situation is different. Will Slovakia choose to side with the core of the EU, over a close cooperation within the V4?

The Slovak tide is about to change

Nikolas Szabó | 2017. October 03. 00:00

The current situation in the V4 is not at all rosy. Actually, we can see only a “V2” cooperation at the moment. Hungary and Poland still share mutual support, but Slovakia with the Czech Republic are closer and closer to the Western side of the EU.

Last year the V4 was lobbying strongly against a wave of refugees and migrants entering the EU. Even though the V4 is officially still opposing migration into the EU, the situation within the V4 has changed. The governments of Slovakia and the Czech Republic have probably realised that a future close cooperation with the EU core will bring more advantages than siding with the “disobedient” V4. The Advantages of a closer EU integration aren´t only immediate euro funds, but it is the whole future integration of member states that serve as economic pledges.
The EU has decisive power over the V4 in economic and legal questions. As an example, Slovakia and Hungary just received a decision of the European Court that rejected their claims against migration quotas. The Prime minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico commented that: “We have to accept this decision, but we can still solve the migration crisis otherwise”. Meaning that he wants support countries, which have problems with an overwhelming wave of refugees and migrants, such as Italy and Greece, but not with quotas. He means, that Slovakia can support these countries by sending protection to their borders and sending food supplies for migrants. But definitely not through the redistribution of refugees within the EU through a quota system.
The fact is that all V4 countries are dependent on the foreign investors and employers from Western EU countries and on their exports to the other parts of the EU. Loss of positive economic pledges could significantly harm the economies of the V4 as a whole. Negative relationships with the EU could also discourage new investors.
On the other side, active membership in the V4 means for Slovakia a higher cultural cooperation and protection in the region against migration from third countries. However, a stronger V4, that is to say, a strong regional cooperation and regional identity is not something that the EU wants to see. The EU pressures countries to focus on the unity of the European Union itself and a strong V4 thwarts this unity.

*The attraction of the core

The so called core of the EU includes the old member states such as Germany and France. What will happen if Slovakia will become part of this core?
First of all, more EU means more pledges. The EU will demand higher asylum seeker quotas. But R. Fico doesn’t talk about this. He only emphasizes the advantages of a close cooperation with these countries: social, labour advantages and more. The Slovak national interest is to limit migration into Slovakia, and this was reflected in R. Fico’s attitude and speeches. But now it seems very plausible that the Prime Minister Fico will prefer to side with the core of the EU over a close V4 cooperation, because of economic assurances and euro-funds. That would of course be a paradox, since R. Fico was against the migration policy of the EU and asylum seeker redistribution quotas. Especially before the last parliamentary elections, he was an ardent opponent of these policies! Yet now he talks only about joining the core of EU and the advantages that would bring. Recently, the Prime Minister said: „I am very much interested in regional cooperation within the Visegrad Four but Slovakia’s vital interest is the EU.”
Advantages of a close cooperation with the core of EU can bring for Slovakia a common European army, higher minimal wage, maybe some lower taxes… but can Slovaks accept a common asylum and migration policy within the EU? It is very unlikely. The core of the EU will eventually become a new state with a higher power. And entering this core should be decided by the citizens of the Slovakia, not by politicians.

Accept the challange!

Kummer Lívia | 2017. October 03. 00:00

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This article convinced me.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

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The Slovak tide is about to change

Nikolas Szabó

Accept the challange!

Kummer Lívia

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