Polish PM Tusk meets leaders of France and Germany on Monday to revive the long-dormant Weimar Triangle format and coordinate support for Ukraine and European defence as Donald Trump muses about giving Russia free rein to attack any NATO ally which did not “pay its dues”.
Upcoming on Visegrad Insight:
- Read why the Hungarian president resigned – an explainer from the weekend by Iván László Nagy.
- How the geopolitical game for new gas supplies to the Western Balkans creates a trap for the region’s green transition by Petr Čermák
- Russiagate: How the Kremlin is interfering in EU politics and European elections by Marco Nemeth.
- Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk meets French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and then German Chancellor Olaf Sholz on Monday in a bid to revive high-level consultations between the three nations, which had been dormant under the previous Eurosceptic government in Warsaw.
- The meetings come on the heels of Scholz’s talks with President Biden in Washington, which produced little substance over the deadlocked US funding for Ukraine. Tusk is hoping to agree on specific steps the three European countries can take to ramp up arms and ammunition supplies to Kyiv, according to Polish sources quoted by Gazeta Wyborcza.
- Scholz delivered a rather downbeat assessment of the situation after his US trip, earning renewed criticism that he was not doing enough from the opposition CDU.
- Tusk rather undiplomatically chastised Republican Senators for failing to pass a supplemental budget with aid for Ukraine, saying on X the party of Ronald Reagan should be ashamed.
- His remark came just as Republican frontrunner Donald Trump again cast doubt on whether his administration would stick to NATO’s collective defence, going as far as to suggest he would encourage Russia to attack a NATO member country which did not “pay its dues”.
- Tucker Carlson’s interview with President Putin got a wide play in CEE countries as the Russian leader again offered his delusional interpretation of history and laid claims to Ukraine while suggesting Poland and Hungary were clamouring its western regions.
- The Polish foreign ministry issued a statement to correct historical inaccuracies peddled by Putin, such as his attempt to blame Poland for allegedly provoking the German attack in 1939. While this was Putin’s worn-out historical fantasy, its use as a justification for attacking Ukraine had the probably unintended consequence of making Putin look like he was from the same stock as Hitler.
- Putin also said he had no intention to attack Poland or the Baltic states, with Carlson failing to remind the Russian president he had broken similar pledges in the past.
- While Putin’s remarks were aimed at the US audience and his own electorate, they failed to convince much of Europe, with the Danish Defence minister becoming the latest official to warn Russia could attack a NATO member in the next 3-5 years.
- The prospect of a weakening US commitment to European defence is set to dominate this year’s Munich security conference starting on 16 February.
- Underlining Putin’s desire to win a resounding endorsement of his policies in the rigged March presidential vote, his only potential opponent, war critic Boris Nadezhdin, was barred from running.
- The European Council and Parliament finally reached an agreement on reforming the bloc’s fiscal rules, which are a compromise between calls to return to the rigid rules on deficits and debt and arguments that too rapid fiscal adjustment would kill off the European economic recovery and curtail much-needed military spending.
- The EU ambassadors agreed details of the new migration pact, the framework of which was agreed in December. Poland and Czechia remain opposed to the deal.
- Conservative Alexander Stubb won the Finnish presidential run-off on Sunday.
- Rightist parties gained support in a partial repeat election in Berlin, called after irregularities in the 2021 election.
- For a Visegrad Insight overview of upcoming European elections, please click here
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