Poland’s prime minister declares readiness to support Ukraine
February 1. After meeting with the prime minister of Ukraine, prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that Poland was ready to aid Ukraine in humanitarian, defense, and economic issues. Poland will also help Ukraine in natural gas and other matters to help support economic stability, especially following Russia’s deployment of 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border. The prime minister claimed solidarity to the Ukrainian state as well as emphasizing the threat Russia poses, not only to Ukraine, but also to the rest of Central and Eastern Europe. Morawiecki compared the situation of the Central and Eastern European countries to a natural disaster, claiming that being close to Russia feels like “living at the foot of a volcano”.
Hungarian government aiming to promote East-West dialogue
February 1. Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, met with Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to strengthen the “wave of dialogue dialogue between Western allies and Russia” and attempt to ease tension. The emergence of “extremely serious tension”, according to Szijjártó, were against Hungary’s security interests and would be better off handled through diplomatic means. Szijjártó even praised the current talks between Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin deeming it “good news”. At the talk Szijjártó and Lavrov also came up with an action plan that would target cooperation in energy, food production, health, and space research.
Poland’s state budget bill signed into law
February 3. Polish president, Andrzej Duda, announced that the government will file a draft of a bill aimed at changing the function of Poland’s supreme court. A key proposal of the bill will be the liquidation of the Supreme Court’s disciplinary chamber and the ability for judges to be able to retire or transfer to other chambers. The bill comes as an attempt to “unblock Poland’s National Recovery Plan” and end the dispute over the polish judicial reforms with the European Commission. The dispute came after the European Commission took Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union, in 2019, ruling that the chamber lacked sufficient independence from the Polish government, and therefore ran against EU law.
Czechia: Mass testing to end on 18th February and services to open up
February 3. While the rest of the European countries are clearing their way towards a ‘normal life”, pressure has been put on the Czech government, including protests, to follow a similar route towards normalcy. Due to the pressure, there has now been plans to pursue a gradual return to normalcy, including the decision to invalidate the measure allowing only vaccinated or recovered people into restaurants and other services, as it has been deemed to clash with the right to freedom. As of February 9th, these changes will go into effect and the mandatory “blanket testing” at schools and institutions will also come to an end from the 18th of February.
US sign Defense Cooperation Agreement with Slovakia
February 4. US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Slovak Defence Minister, Jaroslav Naď, signed the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) on Thursday in Washington, DC. The agreement will enter into force once signed by President Zuzana Čaputová and approved by parliament, however, it has already garnered loud criticism from opposition parties in Slovakia. The bilateral agreement is said to create a legal framework for improving investment and defense cooperation in the military. It will also allow for both militaries to coordinate common defensive efforts such as joint training exercises. The defense ministry also supported the decision claiming that cooperation in defense with the US has significantly contributed to the modernization and transformation of the Slovak Armed Forces.