Slovakia Averts Budgetary Crisis

Democratic Security Outlook 2023: 02 January - 08 January

3 January 2023

Finance Minister Igor Matovic was dismissed as Slovakia approves its budget through a surprise agreement. Czechia passed the EU presidency to Sweden and missile strikes in Ukraine continue into the New Year.

This week on Visegrad Insight:

  • Jan Farfal breaks down the recent hostilities in Kosovo and analyses the possible motivations behind both the Albanian and Serbian communities.
  • Magda Jakubowska interviews Naser Nuredini, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning of North Macedonia discussing the key challenges of energy security and EU membership for the whole Western Balkans region.


  • The Swedish EU Presidency began on 1 January. In the area of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, Sweden will not only continue work with democracy and human rights but also gender equality and the rule of law, and one of the most prioritised areas is Ukraine and the Russian aggression.
  • European Parliament President Roberta Metsola launched the procedure to waive two MEPs’ immunities following the request from Belgian police. 
  • Slavkov Triangle meeting with Indian foreign minister. Foreign ministers of Austria, Czechia and Slovakia met with Indian foreign minister Jaishankar and discussed India’s role in exercising diplomatic pressure on Russia to end its aggression against Ukraine.
  • Czechia and Slovakia commemorate the 30th anniversary of their existence after the Czechoslovak federation was dissolved on December 31, 1992. The survey conducted for Czech TV and Slovak TV shows that 62 per cent of Slovaks see the dissolution as a good thing. In comparison, only 47 per cent of Czechs feel the same way, and 76 per cent of Czechs and 86 per cent of Slovaks believe the decision should have been made by referendum as opposed to politicians. 
  • Russia and Belarus sell wood to the EU under the guise of Kazakh and Kyrgyz wood. Moscow and Minsk were the main suppliers of forest products to the EU.

Missile Strikes Continue into the New Year 


  • Patriot systems will be deployed in Ukraine in less than six months. The announcement came following Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the US. According to Dmytro Kuleba, Foreign Minister of Ukraine, the US government has made a special plan for the accelerated deployment of the Patriot anti-aircraft missile complex, which Washington will hand over to Kyiv.
  • Russia deported about 2 million Ukrainians, among them many children. The numbers ranged from 50,000 children to 200,000, according to the office of Zelensky.
  • The EU will provide €100 million to restore schools in Ukraine. The support package will be for the restoration and rehabilitation of school facilities destroyed as a result of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
  • Russia threatens Greece over the possible transfer of the S-300 air defence system to Ukraine. Georgy Muradov warned Greece against transferring S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine, which are currently based on the island of Crete. 
  • Russia exports wheat stolen on Ukrainian territories to Syria. The wheat comes from occupied-Crimea and has increased 17 times to 500,000 tons. This is almost a third of the total import of grain into the country.
  • Russians prevent the departure of Ukrainians from the occupied territories. This was announced by the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov. Previously, it was possible to leave through the Donetsk region or Crimea in the direction of Georgia, Estonia and Latvia. 
  • Belarus restricts access to three districts of the Gomel region. The border areas of the Loevsky, Braginsky and Khoiniki near Kyiv and Chernihiv were affected. 
  • Currently, the EU spends a lot on supporting Ukrainian migrants, but in the long run, it expects to make a profit as Ukrainians are actively integrating into the European labour market and paying taxes. 
  • Russians do not stop shelling cities and villages in Ukraine. On Christmas Eve, Christmas night, New Year’s Eve and Day, the occupiers launched several missile attacks and air strikes. 
  • Ukraine became the state of the year, according to The Economist. “Our country of 2022 can only be Ukraine,” the magazine noted.

Czechia Hands Over EU Presidency and Head of Polish Constitutional Court Stays in Office after Her Term Expires


  • Czechia hands over the EU rotating presidency to Sweden. It was the second time Czechia held the presidency and some of its mots notable achievements include the coordination of EU sanctions against the Kremlin. Bosnia and Herzegovina was recommended for an EU candidate country status and Croatia was admitted to Schengen during the Czech Presidency.
  • Two weeks before the first round of presidential elections scheduled for January 13-14 former NATO head of military command General Petr Pavel, populist billionaire Andrej Babiš and former Mendel University President Danuše Nerudová are neck to neck in the polls.
  • Record-high nuclear production. Czech nuclear power plants Dukovany and Temelin sent 31TWh of electricity into the power grid last year surpassing the previous high from 2013 of 30.8TWh, majority-state-owned energy utility CEZ reported.


  • Hungarian bank supports pro-Putin Bosnian Serb entity with a EUR 100 million loan. The loan has to be repaid within ten years to the Hungarian state-owned Eximbank, with an annual interest rate of 5 per cent and a grace period of one year.
  • The European Commission freezes the payment of € 22 billion to Hungary from European funds until a number of conditions are met. The main reason is the policy of Budapest, which runs counter to EU norms. Among them: the independence of the judiciary, academic freedoms, LGBT rights and the asylum system for refugees. Earlier, European structures have already frozen €6 billion for Hungarians for the lack of independence of the judiciary and the lack of fight against corruption. (Read more here.)
  • More teacher protests are expected to take place in Hungary this week.



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