Commentary V4 summit

Let us not be deluded about the importance of the V4 for Germany

Chancellor Merkel's meeting with the prime ministers of the V4 countries raises the question of whether the Visegrad Group is as important for Germany as France.

For example, Viktor Orbán, according to Die Welt, said that the aim of the talks was "for the Germans to choose a strategic partnership with the Visegrad Group and not just focus on France". No doubt, there is something to it. However, France, unlike the V4, has a consistent policy towards Germany.

Although the Visegrad Group brings benefits, and Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as a whole have their weight, there is no point in having false hopes that the V4 could be, in the eyes of the Germans, of equal importance as France. France is economically twice as powerful as the V4, and also, it has nuclear weapons and is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. But the key reason can be elsewhere.

France has a consistent policy towards Germany, albeit not always consistent. But the "German policies" of the V4 countries are sharply different. PM Orbán has allies in the CSU and CDU. Poland broadly defends its interests towards Germany as far as to calculate the reparations for the Second World War, which is the SPD and Communists´ agenda in the Czech Republic. Slovakia is pragmatic if not pro-Germanic. And the Czech Republic seems to be guided by the principle: let's be pro-German, at least for economic interests, but no one has to know about it. Rather do not shout loud that we do not want the euro or accept the quota of migrants.

From this range of approaches, a common policy, which should be taken just as seriously as the French approach, cannot be formed. However, it does not mean it should be done in this way.

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