Hungary’s Forint Sinks on Economic Gloom and Orbán Pressure on Central Bank 

Democratic Security Outlook 2024: March 4-10 

4 March 2024

The Hungarian Forint extended recent losses against the euro and probed all-time lows against the Polish zloty. This reflects a widening political and economic divergence between Poland – enjoying a new momentum inside the EU – and increasingly isolated Hungary.

Upcoming on Visegrad Insight:

  • Costs of Non-enlargement – our new foresight report will be discussed with Brussels policy circles this Wednesday.
  • Albin Sybera breaks down the impact of the looming legislative changes in Slovakia.
  • Staś Kaleta analyses how venture capital in CE can rebound after a lacklustre year by focusing on AI and other innovative fields in the green and digital transition.


  • The European People’s Party meets in Bucharest on 6 March to launch their European Parliament campaign. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is expected to announce that she will seek a second term in office.
  • Prime Ministers of Visegrad Four insisted at a Prague summit that the format remained helpful in coordinating their positions on issues such as migration, internal reform and energy inside the EU while making clear they remain divided over Ukraine.
  • Polish PM Donald Tusk, who before the summit said he was not sure the grouping had any future, said the four found minimum unity over Ukraine as Hungarian and Slovak leaders, Viktor Orbán and Robert Fico, agreed with him and Czech host Petr Fiala that Russia was the aggressor and broke international law.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin used his annual speech before parliament to repeat his nuclear sabre-rattling, which followed a surprise statement by French President Emmanuel Macron that NATO troops could be sent to Ukraine.
  • Several European governments, including Germany and the Visegrad Four countries, disavowed Macron’s words after a recent summit in Paris.
  • The impression of chaos in Western capitals about how to prop up Kyiv’s defences was magnified when Russia leaked a conversation between senior German generals discussing deploying Taurus missiles to attack the Kerch bridge to Crimea just as Chancellor Olaf Scholz again ruled out handing the state-of-the-art missiles to Ukraine on the dubious grounds that it would bring Germany into the war.
  • Scholz caused further confusion and a rift inside NATO when he suggested British and French troops were on the ground in Ukraine, helping the Ukrainian army deploy medium-range missiles.
  • The European Parliament wants the European Investment Bank to scrap its restrictions on financing the defence industry.
  • Energy ministers from some CEE nations and Germany are meeting today to resolve a dispute over the surcharges imposed by Berlin on gas stored in the country and later supplied to its neighbours in 2022.
  • Israel’s UN representative laid into Russia for allegedly hosting Hamas in Moscow this week and accused it of deepening ties with Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and other autocratic regimes seeking to undermine the rules-based international order. Gilan Erdan said Israel would continue to support Ukraine in its struggle against what he called illegal Russian aggression.
  • The European Parliament passed a modest anti-SLAPP legislation.
  • Inflation fell strongly across CEE as part of broader disinflation trends globally. See the graph:

Ukraine reaches self-efficiency in gas supply 



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