Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week attended a summit of the so-called “Visegrad Group” in Budapest with the leaders of “V4” states – Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Czechia. The host of the summit, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, described the four plus Israel as “patriotic nations”.
In their official statement at the end of the Visegrad summit, the four central European leaders expressed strong support for Israel and urged the EU to better appreciate Israel’s key role in Middle Eastern stability. According to Reuters news agency, analysts perceive the Visegrad statement as a direct attack on the EU’s current policy toward Israel, and the latest example of divergence between “old” and “new” Europe on sensitive questions of national sovereignty and migration.
This follows the recent visit by US President Donald Trump to Poland, another Visegrad country, also under pressure from the EU. In his speech, President Trump highlighted the Christian values that underpin European civilisation, a discourse very much to the liking of the current Polish and Hungarian Governments.
Meanwhile, at the V4 meeting, Prime Minister threw down the gauntlet on behalf of the four to the EU Commission in Brussels, which has sought to impose quotas of migrants from Muslim-majority countries on these reluctant nations: “The Visegrad Four shares the Israeli view that external border defense is key,” Mr Orban told a press briefing. “Free movement of people without controls raises the risk of terror.”