Merkel was lucky to attend the Bratislava summit instead of one say, held in Nice, France. Seeing how France has recalled its ambassador to Italy and the same two countries cannot even agree on a Louvre exhibition on the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, it would have been quite difficult for her to demonstrate European union there.
In Bratislava, however, she met a group of heads of state that present a united front that is quite unusual in today’s European Union. Despite having ideologically different political backgrounds and affiliations, these four managed to find a common denominator in the defining European issues such as halting migration and a joint stance in the upcoming debate of the EU budget for the next seven-year cycle.
One of the most significant diplomatic achievements in recent years is that not only did the Visegrad Group reach substantial political cooperation but they have also grown a common voice – in large part thanks to the Orbán cabinet.
From time-to-time the voice of the Visegrad Four is also joined by those of Croatia, Austria and Romania. Their combined size of this assembly exceeds the 83 million of Germany.
But there was a sweet and sour overtone to the entire meeting: Merkel’s voice was about as far from the original as Rami Malek’s rendition of Freddie Mercury in the Queen movie – her soundtrack is running from playback and stage hands are already gathering to dismantle the set – perhaps in 2021, but maybe earlier, should Merkel’s Christian Democrats get less votes in the upcoming European elections than say, Salvini’s League. And that will also be the end of her infamous Willkommenskultur.
Title image, left to right: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at the Bratislava V4-Germany summit (MTI/Prime Minister’s Press Office, Balázs Szecsődi).