Didn’t have time to read the news lately? Kafkadesk’s got you covered. Here’s our recap of what’s been going on.
Poland: Opposition sends out the wrong message
“An embarrassing mistake”, as Notes from Poland points out on Facebook. Last Saturday, Poland’s opposition, gathered in the European Coalition, launched its official campaign for May’s European elections, trying to present a common front to defeat the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and warning of a possible ‘Polexit’ (Poland’s exit from the EU).
But the overall message was temporarily drowned by a communication blunder. Many opposition politicians, including the page of the main opposition party Civic Platform, wrote on social media that they represented Poland’s past (przeszłość), instead of Poland’s future (przyszłość). The error, of course, was quickly identified and mocked by internet and social media users.
Hungary: Government hammers down immigration topic ahead of EU election
The head of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet office Antal Rogan, talking to public broadcaster Kossuth Radio, argued that immigration was the chief most important issue facing Europe today, slamming the EU’s handling of the issue and claiming the matter should be entrusted to individual nation states.
The public official cited a survey, conducted by the pro-government Szazadveg think tank, which showed that Europeans as a whole were not satisfied with how the EU handled the migration crisis, pointing to heightened terrorism risk and insecurity as a result of the massive influx of immigrants since 2015 – statements in sharp contrast with the result of a recent study that showed that, despite the government’s anti-refugee rhetoric and fear-mongering, Hungarians were much more worried about emigration than immigration.
A few days after Prime Minister Viktor Orban officially launched his European election campaign, hammering down his pet topic of a Christian Europe threatened to be overcome by Muslim migrants and multiculturalism, his head of cabinet remained true to his strategy, suggesting that the matter will only become worse if pro-immigration, left-wing and liberal parties win a majority during next May’s ballot.
Czech Republic: Record-man Transport Minister calls it quits
On Monday, Czech Transport Minister Dan Tok (ANO) announced he would soon be leaving the government and politics. The longest-serving Transport Minister since the fall of communism, Dan Tok had been at his post since 2014. He reportedly first handed his resignation in January to Prime Minister Andrej Babis, arguing he was tired “from the constant attacks against me, and from the various efforts made to bypass me”. Babis said Tok’s decision “didn’t surprise [him], given the constant attacks against him”, adding: “I think he did plenty of good work and deserves our thanks for it”.
Dan Tok, 60, could also give up his seat at the Czech lower house of Parliament. He had been the target of multiple and repeated criticism in the last few months, including for how he handled the selection of the new operator of the Czech tolling system. Tok was also blamed for the consistent congestion of the D1 highway, that leads Prague to Brno, the Czech Republic’s second largest city. On Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that Tok will be replaced by Vladimir Kremlík as part of a wider cabinet reshuffle, that also includes the ousting of the Trade and Industry Minister, under fire over a Chinese-Taiwanese diplomatic incident.