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Move towards EU integration may split Central Europe

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Subject

EU reform’s likely consequences for the four Central European member states.

Significance

The Visegrad Group (V4) -- the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia -- has become a powerful but toxic political brand: V4 intransigence on refugee relocation, and backsliding by Poland and Hungary on democratic and rule-of-law norms, have diminished Western Europe’s commitment to keeping Central Europe (CE) at the EU’s core. An EU reform tending towards deeper integration would aim for unity, but may not find room for Poland and Hungary.

Impacts

  • Western EU member states, led by Germany and France, will push ahead with EU reform regardless of V4 concerns.
  • FDI inflows, particularly into Poland and Hungary, are likely to moderate until there is more certainty about CE’s trajectory.
  • Russia will push CE, particularly Hungary, in a more Eurosceptic direction, with the aim of dividing and weakening the EU.
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