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Central Europe: The most important news from July 5th to 11th

The Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrád Group organized a summit meeting in Ljubljana between the heads of government of the V4 and Slovenia on Friday, July 8th. The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who was present alongside Viktor Orbán and Janez Janša, emphasized that “both the V4 countries and Slovenia are against the attempts of the European Commission to take away powers from the Member States of the European Union.”

Hungary

  • Reporters Without Borders has just put Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on the list of “predators” of freedom of the press, a very closed club where he has now joined 36 other heads of state or government, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro , Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduró and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • which is as long as Hungary’s southern border or the Lithuanian-Belarusian border cannot be protected by human resources alone. Physical barriers are needed: the best solution is a fence.
  • UEFA announced on Friday 8 July that the Hungarian national football team would have to play their next two games behind closed doors. This sanction was imposed because of the “behavior” of certain Hungarian fans at games in Hungary. During the Portugal-Hungary game in the Budapest Puskás Arena, a banner hostile to the LGBT lobby was unfurled, while during the game against France a banner was held up showing the Western practice of kneeling players as dictated by the Black Lives -Matter movement criticized. In addition to the two suspensions, the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) has to pay UEFA a fine of 100,000 euros.

Poland

  • On June 28, the Archbishop of Gniezko (Gnesen) and Primate of Poland, Wojciech Polak, presented the statistics of the Polish Church on the number of cases of pedophilia known to it in its midst for the years 2018-2020. “The data we are presenting today do not fully reflect the drama of clerical sexual abuse of minors,” the prelate said in no uncertain terms. According to the Church’s investigation, the revelations over these three years concern 368 cases of abuse of minors – half of them were under 15 at the time of the incidents: 300 in dioceses and 68 in religious communities. They affected 292 priests or religious. In 38 cases the reported facts were considered to be unproven. Archbishop Polak recalled
  • Twenty-five unions representing Polish Post (Poczta Polska) employees sent an open letter to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on June 27, denouncing the actions of the Board of Directors that “led to the collapse of [this] public enterprise”, which went from a profit of 33 million zlotys in 2009 to a loss of 118 million zlotys in 2020: “In disregard of the social partners, the board of Poczta Polska decided to make mass layoffs and at the same time employ their friends […] for lucrative management positions. These people have no knowledge of the day-to-day running of the company, which creates a legitimate risk
  • Poland, like many other countries, has seen a decline in vaccination candidates: 54% of the country’s adult population are already vaccinated (including 77% of those over 70 and 67% of those over 60). The Prime Minister’s spokesman, Michał Dworczyk, announced on July 1st that some vaccination centers would close: “There is simply no one left who wants to be vaccinated against Covid-19 […] The pace of registration is slowing […] We have A decrease of 30% was registered week after week. This is a very worrying phenomenon, ”he said as the government is now betting on a lottery to encourage Poles to get vaccinated.
  • On Friday July 9th, Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said that the number of new Covid infections in Poland is now very low (80 new cases per day for the whole country). The minister said he was concerned that many people who received the first dose of the vaccine were delaying registration for the second dose: “The second dose determines the effectiveness of the entire vaccination process and we cannot give up these doses” that this is a “worrying phenomenon”.
  • Some Polish public figures have had their email accounts hacked. As the spokesman for the ministerial coordinator of the secret service, Stanisław Żaryn, announced on July 2, the e-mail system of the Sejm, the Polish parliament, is also affected: “The Internal Security Agency found that the attack was also carried out The e ‑ mail system of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland concerned […] A detailed analysis revealed unauthorized connections to the official e ‑ mail boxes of some members of the Polish Parliament. The incidents affected a total of ten MPs, members of the Lewica, Polska2050, PiS, Citizens’ Platform and Konfederacja […] The MPs whose mailboxes were attacked were informed of the dangers and measures were proposed.
  • The Supreme Court of Poland ruled on Tuesday (July 6th) that bans on gatherings in the country during the coronavirus pandemic were illegal due to a formality. “The ban was introduced without a proper legal basis – by decree instead of law,” the judges said.
  • The Covid vaccination campaign has received strong support from the Catholic Church. The Archbishop of Poznań and Chairman of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Mgr. Stanisław Gądecki, said this Friday, July 9th, that “vaccination against Covid-19 is an important tool to reduce the spread of the infection and … to return to the normal functioning of society […] the invention of vaccines can be seen as a gift from God to man who is not indifferent to human fate and the risks associated with diseases ”… while reminding us that“ vaccination must be voluntary … As a rule, vaccination is not a moral obligation. ”The Archbishop of Warsaw, Kazimierz Nycz,
  • The new Polish law, passed by the Sejm on June 24th, which provides for a 30-year period to contest the allocation of real estate expropriated – especially, but not exclusively, by Jews – during World War II continues to provide for Excitement between Poland and Israel. After strong criticism from Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who described the Polish amendment passed by the Sejm as “shameful”, the PiS chairman and Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński said in an interview published on Wednesday to his critics: “We decide our own laws. “
  • The new regulation is also heavily criticized by the Polish Landowners Society. Marcin Schirmer, the president of this association of predominantly aristocratic landowners, said: “If [this provision] came into force in the proposed form, it would prevent the future recovery of looted property and at the same time terminate the ongoing proceedings. In my opinion, this is part of a broader government practice of filling the few remaining legal loopholes, even though there is no reprivatisation law […] Unfortunately, the vote in the Sejm showed that this law was broadly supported by all political forces present in parliament [ …] None of the parties opposed it, only the citizens’ platform abstained,
  • Today, Wednesday, July 7th, the Polish President Andrzej Duda presented the Sejm Marshal Elżbieta Witek with a bill for the reconstruction of the Saxon Castle in Warsaw.
  • Lawyer Bartosz Lewandowski, a member of the Ordo Iuris Association, reported on Friday, July 9th, via his Twitter account that the Warsaw District Prosecutor’s Office was launching an investigation against Marta Lempart, the leader of the “Women’s Strike” movement, for “insulting police officers and causing the cause an epidemic risk in connection with the organization of rallies during the pandemic ”. The Ordo Iuris Association had filed a complaint.
  • After several unsuccessful attempts, Poland may finally succeed in electing a new ombudsman. On Thursday, July 8th, the Sejm appointed Marcin Wiącek, originally supported by the opposition, against PiS-supported Lidia Staroń, whose candidacy was rejected by the Senate, in which the opposition has a majority. Everything indicates that Wiącek will be favored by the House of Lords.

Slovakia

  • Since the Russian vaccine Sputnik V is still not approved in the European Union, the 200,000 doses of the vaccine that Prime Minister Igor Matovič bought at the end of February – a move that cost him his post as head of government – will not be used in Slovakia after all . The health authorities therefore sent 160,000 of them back to Russia on July 2.
  • The Marie Valerie Bridge, which connects Slovakia and Hungary, was blocked all day on July 9 by around 100 demonstrators who denounced the “vaccination terror”. Other slogans could also be seen, such as “Don’t touch our children!”, “Don’t take away our constitutional rights!” Or “Stop gene therapy!”

Czech Republic

  • Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Thursday that he had no reason to sign a letter initiated by 18 European heads of state and government sharply criticizing the entry into force of the Hungarian anti-pedophile law. “I don’t see why we should interfere with Hungarian laws, it is a sovereign country. It’s not about homosexuals, it’s about the protection of children and the right of parents to bring them up as they see fit, ”he replied to a question from a member of the pirates’ parliament.

Croatia

  • Hungary’s anti-pedophile law continues to stir up excitement in Brussels and Western law firms insulted that LGBT propaganda targeting minors can be banned. On the contrary, the Hungarian legislation is being copied in Poland and Croatia. In Croatia, Nikola Grmoja, a member of the opposition party Most nezavisnih lista (Independents), announced on Monday 6 July that a law similar to Hungarian law would be introduced to protect children from pedophilia and LGBT propaganda. “Pedophilia is the most shameful crime that can be committed because it destroys a young person […] Everyone has the right to freely choose what values they want to live with, but I am determined to fight against the imposition of an aggressive ideology on children […] I want to emphasize that some of the situations we can see in the so-called progressive West, where children undergo sex reassignment surgery at the age of five, six or seven, are not influenced by it separate from LGBTQ ideology. This influence has serious consequences for their lives. That is a scenario that we will not allow in Croatia, ”he said. This influence has serious consequences for their lives. That is a scenario that we will not allow in Croatia, ”he said. This influence has serious consequences for their lives. That is a scenario that we will not allow in Croatia, ”he said.

Slovenia

  • On Tuesday, July 6th, early voting began for the water referendum, which was held on Sunday, July 11th. 84,196 voters, or 4.96% of the electorate, cast their votes in the early voting. This is the highest voter turnout that has ever been achieved in a referendum or election.
  • On Wednesday, July 7th, Prime Minister Janez Janša met with the mayors of the Slovenian municipalities in Brdo pri Kranju (Egg near Krainburg). In particular, they discussed measures to control COVID-19 infections in the coming months, as well as public finance and development issues.
  • On Wednesday, July 7th, the chairman of the NSI group (New Slovenia), Jožef Horvat, was verbally attacked by left-wing demonstrators on his way out of the National Assembly and then spat at. On Friday, July 9th, the President of the National Assembly, Igor Zorčič, convened a working session to discuss such threats from MPs.
  • On Thursday, July 8th, the Director General of the Defense Policy Directorate Uroš Zorko presented the preparations for the events and the priority issues during the Slovenian EU Council Presidency in the field of Defense and Protection and Rescue. Participants in the conference included Vlasta Vivod, head of the task force coordinating the preparation and implementation of the Slovenian EU Council Presidency, and Mgr. Mateja Kirn.
  • On Friday, July 9th, the heads of government of the Visegrád Group paid a working visit to Slovenia. The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger and the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša in Ljubljana. The main topics of the V4 plenary session with the Slovenian Prime Minister were Slovenia’s priorities for the EU Council Presidency, the conference on the future of Europe, the situation in the Western Balkans and other topical European issues.
  • On Sunday, July 11th, a referendum was held to amend the Water Act. 46% of voters took part in the referendum, with the majority voting against the change.

By: UME

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