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POLAND: V4 Summit in Budapest

On Thursday, PM Morawiecki travelled to Budapest to meet with his V4 counterparts and the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The agenda of the meeting included migration issues, the post-2020 EU budget and other key issues, which are expected to be discussed within the European Council. Officially Hungary’s presidency in the V4 will terminate on 30 June, however, PM Viktor Orban already passed the buck to Slovakia.

Still, one of the most important decisions of this meeting is that none of the V4 heads of government will attend the informal mini summit on migration, which is expected to take place on Sunday. The summit was called ad hoc by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. PM Morawiecki commented that Poland and other V4 counties do not wish to be a part of the “migrant relocation club”, and that there is no point in continuously discussing the same proposals. Orban concurred, saying that it “would not be right” to attend. It remains unclear whether the V4 countries were actually invited. According the German daily Bild, an invitation was only conveyed to a selected group of countries, supposedly not including the V4 group. This information seems to be supported by daily “Der Spiegel”, which reported that Donald Tusk opposed this summit, arguing that all EU countries should participate.

The position of the V4 countries on migration now seems to have gained the support of Austria. Italy’s PM Giusseppe Conti is a likely candidate to join the V4 group in an alliance against the Franco-German proposal. While PM Morawiecki’s decision may come as a surprise, a growing coalition of countries opposing the EU’s mainstream position may be gaining momentum. It will, however, be important for Poland to take a wholesome approach to the upcoming official summit of the European Council – a number of key matters are likely to appear on the agenda, including the future of article 7 procedures.