Didn’t have time to read the news lately? Kafkadesk’s got you covered: Budding friendship between Viktor Orban and Matteo Salvini, far-right marches in Brno, and more… Here’s our recap of what’s been going on and what you might have missed these last few days.
Poland holds summit to mark 15th anniversary of EU membership
On Wednesday, Warsaw hosted a summit to celebrate the EU’s enlargement to the east, gathering leaders from all the countries that joined the EU fifteen years ago, on May 1, 2004 (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia), as well as the latest newcomers Bulgaria, Romania (2007) and Croatia (2013).
While Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hosted his counterparts at Warsaw’s Royal Castle in a summit meant to highlight Central and Eastern Europe’s cemented place at the heart of the EU, two slight incidents cast a shadow over the well-calibrated European fest: hundreds of anti-EU and far-right protesters demonstrated in front of the palace, while EU Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, who also attended the summit, warned that Poland should stop considering the EU as “just a money machine, a cow that you can milk”.
Far-right protesters clash with anti-fascist groups in Brno on May Day
The usually quiet Moravian city of Brno, in the Czech Republic, turned on Wednesday evening into the setting of violent clashes between ultra-right and anti-fascist protesters. Around one hundred far-right protesters marched through the streets of the Czech Republic’s second-largest city, facing off an anti-demonstration organized by anti-fascist organizations, gathered under the Brno Blokuje association.
Half a dozen people were arrested and detained by police forces, mobilized for the occasion, while several people, including police officers, were injured in the brawl, according to local media. Ahead of the demonstrations, Brno’s municipal police warned residents against passing through the city center unless absolutely necessary. This is not the first time Brno experiences such clashes: the Moravian capital made headlines two years ago after demonstrations turned violent, exemplified by a picture, which went viral on social media, showing a far-right protester seemingly yelling at a young girl scout.
Viktor Orban hints at possible alliance with Italy’s Matteo Salvini and far-right League
In an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán argued that the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), from which his Fidesz party has been temporarily suspended, should forge an alliance with the EU’s nationalist populist forces after this month’s elections. “The EPP is preparing to commit suicide and wants to tie itself to the left”, Orbán told Italian reporters. “We need to find another path via cooperation with Europe’s right-wing” he added, crossing yet another red-line drawn by EPP leader Manfred Weber, who singled out Europe’s nationalists as “our enemies”.
The Hungarian Premier’s comments, meant at cultivating “his image as a nationalist hero” and paving the way for future alliances, were a clear reference to the alliance of European nationalist parties Italy’s Matteo Salvini, labelled as “the most important person in Europe today” by Orbán, is trying to assemble. While both men are currently in de-facto rival political camps, Salvini, leader of the far-right League party, has been trying to win over Orbán to his cause, and is due to meet with Hungary’s strongman today in Budapest.