Visegrad Four vs. Merkel—Europe In The Balance
Across the pond in Europe, the National Question is getting really prominent. Anti-national universalism in the last century threw up two great supranational projects: the Soviet Union and the European Union. The Soviet Union collapsed 25 years ago. I don’t think it’s too much to hope that the EU is now collapsing as we watch.
Key players here, not very surprisingly, are the East European nations who experienced the U.S.S.R. at first hand. Among those nations are four who call themselves the Visegrad Group: Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
It so happens that the Visegrad group celebrated its 25th birthday last Monday, February 15. The Group was formed in 1991 to, quote from their mission statement, “work together in a number of fields of common interest within the all-European integration.”
Back then, at the time the group was founded, the main aim was to get admitted to the EU. They subsequently all did get admitted, in 2004.
The Visegrad Group—sometimes written as the Visegrad Four, or just V4—is something of a tadpole demographically: Poland accounts for sixty percent of its population. The other three countries, the tail of the tadpole, are just forty percent.
That is significant politically as well as just demographically. Last November’s election in Poland waswon by the Law and Justice Party, a National Conservative party skeptical of the EU and strongly opposed to mass Third World immigration.
(I am sorry to report that the Law and Justice Party is commonly referred to by its Polish initials, PiS. Listen, I don’t make the news, I just report it).
The tail of the Visegrad tadpole is similarly minded. Working our way through them by demography, the Czech Republic, with sixteen percent of the Group’s population, was the subject of a Radio Derb smooch back on January 1st this year. You may recall our long quote from the Christmas message to his people given by the Czech President, Miloš Zeman.
It began: “I am deeply convinced that what we are facing is an organized invasion.” It ended with these ringing words:
To close my Christmas message, I would like to tell you two clear sentences:
- This country is ours. And<
- This country is not for, and cannot be for, all.
Hungary, with fifteen percent of the Group’s population, has a President and Prime Minister from Fidesz, another national conservative party. Quotes from that Prime Minister, speaking on Wednesday this week
Christian and national values will be as important in the future as they were in the past … Uncontrolled migration will cause more harm than good … No one can be forced to live with the people whom they don’t want to live with.
Hungary premier blasts migrant flow as threat to Europe, By Vladimir Isachenkov, AP, February 20, 2016
In Slovakia, the smallest member of the Visegrad Four, the ruling political party rejoices in the name Smer. This is not a National Conservative party. It’s center-Left in general orientation.
Still nationalist, though. Quote from Smer Prime Minister Robert Fico last week: “The only way to eliminate risks like Paris and Germany is to prevent the creation of a compact Muslim community in Slovakia.”[ We protect Slovakia’, By Benjamin Cunningham, Politico, February 20, 2016]
Further quote from him,
We will never make a voluntary decision that would lead to the formation of a unified Muslim community in Slovakia … Multi-culturalism is a fiction.
Slovakia vows to refuse entry to Muslim migrants, DW January 10, 2016
I love these Visegrad guys! Memo to President Trump: Is there a way the U.S.A. could apply to join the Visegrad Group?
Worth looking into.
Slovakia, by the way, has an election coming up March 5th. Smer is polling well, but may not get a full majority and could end up in coalition with a center-center party named Siet. A Smer-Siet coalition … I just wanted to say that.
Bottom line: the Visegrad Group is pretty solidly nationalist, even the Leftist parties. They don’t want Muslims coming into their countries in quantity.
But there are developments going on that could change the future of Europe.
You need some idea of the geography here. If you slice Europe with a north-south line, roughly at the fifteenth meridian, east of that is Eastern Europe, right? The Visegrad group is the northern zone of Eastern Europe. Going southward from it, you go through all the bits of the old Yugoslavia—Serbia, Bosnia, and so on—until finally you get to Macedonia, then over the border into Greece. To your east, meanwhile, as you took that southward trek, were Romania and then Bulgaria. Bulgaria also borders on Greece.
The talk going on now, with the Visegrad Four doing most of the talking, is that if Greece and Turkey can’t get the flow of illegal immigrants under control, then Macedonia and Bulgaria should close their borders to seal off Greece.
This is in addition to the border fences already up. Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria are already defending their borders against the Muslim flash mobs.
When I say “the talk going on now,” that’s not figurative: the relevant parties were actually talking last week, at a summit meeting in Prague. The Visegrad leaders were all there, and they’d invited representatives from Macedonia and Bulgaria to join them. (They invited the Prime Minister of Greece, too, but he didn’t show. I don’t know what’s up with that).
Here is a quote from the statement they issued:
With the very foundations of the European Union at stake, the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group countries call on all European Union Member States to take common, rapid and decisive action: the key strategic objective now is to preserve Schengen, which can only be achieved by regaining control over the European Union’s external borders. Pursuing these goals will also significantly contribute to easing tensions and support stabilisation of the situation in the Balkans region. These efforts thus represent the way forward in order to preserve the European Union and its benefits for citizens. [Joint Statement of V4 Prime Ministers on Migration, February 15, 2016]
This is causing trouble over there. Also this week, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, is an EU Summit in Brussels to discuss the illegal alien problem. Angela Merkel’s there, of course, still pushing for the other EU countries to spread the illegals out among themselves, still insisting that Greece stay in the open-borders Schengen zone. Which obviously positions her for a head-on collision with the Visegrad Four.
Meanwhile, someone in Europe’s had the idea to send NATO ships to patrol the Aegean Sea, where the illegals come across from Turkey to Greece. [NATO warships ordered to patrol the Aegean Sea ‘without delay’ after Turkey, Germany and Greece ask for help in stopping illegal migration, Daily Mail, February 11, 2016] These NATO vessels could shut down the people-smuggling rackets by just turning the boats round, back to Turkey.
That’s how the Australians solved their similar problem.
Brilliant! It only took the Europeans a year to think of this.
Meanwhile, winter is beginning to turn into spring. Better weather, more boats, more people: a million, two million, five million … Who knows?
Europe’s in the balance. The next few months will be very interesting.
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by VDARE.com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.
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