The Hungarian Far-right party Mi Hazánk held a demonstration against ‘COVID Dictatorship’
January 17. Thousands of people took part in a demonstration organized by the Mi Hazánk Party in Budapest, targeting the COVID restrictions and epidemiological rules put forth by the government. The demonstration was held against the possibility of compulsory vaccination, the vaccination of children, and the government’s decision to convert immunity cards into vaccination cards starting from the 15th of February. László Toroczkai, the party’s president and a candidate for prime minister, stated that the demonstration was a response to the “the vaccine terror” and a chance to stop the ‘COVID dictatorship’ from worsening through “constant political pressure”.
Poland to end the dispute over the Turów Coal Mine if Czech Republic signs deal
January 19. The Czech Republic and Poland will come to an agreement over the dispute on the extension of the Turów mine if the Czech Republic agrees to sign up to the terms. The dispute centers around the Czech Republic’s claim that the extension of the mining on Turów causes pollution and a loss of underground water and must be halted or compensated for with a daily penalty of 500,000 euros to the European Commission. Poland had initially refused to halt the operations, but after environment ministers Anna Moskwa and Anna Hubackova met in Warsaw on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a deal and a new set of terms, Poland signaled an interest in ending the dispute and withdrawing its complaint from European Union’s top court.
Czech Republic reconsiders plan for compulsory vaccination
January 20. On Wednesday, the Fiala government stated that it would invalidate the directive on the compulsory vaccination for selected groups and move towards an anti-Covid strategy targeting “trust and goodwill”. The decision was initially planned to be announced mid-February, however, backlash and rifts in companies and families resulted in an early announcement. The decision was also accelerated due to protests on streets and the high percentage of vaccinated people amongst high-risk groups. Alternatively, the government has introduced stricter rules regarding testing in companies and schools, as well as, planning to make booster shots widely available, even to children over the age of 12.
Slovakia’s Minister of the Economy, Richard Sulík, prompts scandal after claiming sanctions “will not return Crimea”
January 21. Minister Richard Sulík faces a scandal after claiming that the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU were “unfortunate”. Sulík claimed that the sanctions have impacted some of Slovakia’s exporters and will “only cause harm”. He continued by stating that the solution is to look forward and build relationships instead and that sanctions “will not return Crimea anyway”. Sulík’s comments spread amongst Russian and Ukranian media, resulting in a response from Kyiv government, who had been upset by the comments. Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, responded by saying that Sulík’s comments were at odds with the official position of Slovakia and that his comments demonstrated a distortion in the perception of the reality of Crimea.
Poland’s prime minster calls on European leaders for united stance on Ukraine
January 21. Following fears that Russia could be preparing for an invasion of Ukraine, the prime minister of Poland warns for a toughened and united European stance towards Russia. Poland’s President also supported the statement claiming that Poland supports Ukraine’s full Euro-Atlantic integration and that “The Euro-Atlantic community has a duty to counteract any aggression, regardless of its size and scale”. There will also be efforts in establishing a special channel to continue contact between Ukraine and Poland and further talks between them.