News from Europe and the World, January 25, 2021

Brussels (photo by Danial Kalbasi of

Central Europe

Poland: On 25 January, the prestigious British daily Financial Times published on its front page an article by President Andrzej Duda titled "Central Europe - a community of aspirations". On the 25th of January, the prestigious British newspaper "Financial Times" published on its front page an article by President Andrzej Duda entitled "Central Europe - a community of aspirations", in which he writes about the dynamic development of our region. "We have come a long way from a region that for a long time hardly existed in the consciousness of the main actors of the world stage. We have become a region that is one of the most dynamically developing areas of the globe and aspires to the category of civilization centers" - notes the President. At the same time, he calls on the European Union to take firm action against Russia after the arrest of oppositionist Alexei Navalny. "Russia is not a country that can be trusted or that shares the same values and goals from the point of view of democratic principles as the Euro-Atlantic countries," the Polish president stresses.

The President's article was also published in the monthly "Wszystko Co najważniejsze", in the French daily "L'Opinion" and in the dailies and portals of the world media as part of the project "We tell Poland to the world. Decade of Central Europe".

Slovakia: Karol Kierzkowski of the State Fire Service told PAP that last Saturday "about 27,000 tests for coronavirus were performed at all population testing points in Slovakia where Polish rescuers were present." Since Saturday, 67 medics from Warsaw and Lodz have been assisting Slovakian services in Bratislava.

Since Saturday morning, 67 medics from Warsaw and Lodz have been assisting Slovakian forces in Bratislava. They are a group of doctors, nurses and paramedics who have come to provide medical assistance in response to the Slovakian government's appeal. At the points where they worked, more than 10 thousand tests were performed on Saturday, of which about 60 were positive. The screening tests of Slovaks began on Monday, January 18 and will last until January 27. They are to be conducted where the largest outbreaks of the disease occur, including in the border zone with Poland.

Czech Republic: Two Czech MEPs from the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) spoke in defence of the Polish and Hungarian governments and the ongoing conflict over the so-called rule of law. Jan Zahradil emphasised that violations of EU law "should be decided by the independent Court of Justice of the EU, not by political bodies such as the EC, the EP or the European Council", while Alexandr Vondra (former head of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) claimed that he "understands the position of both countries and regrets that they did not receive support from Prague".

Support for V4 cooperation and understanding for the position of Poland and Hungary were also expressed by President Miloš Zeman during President Andrzej Duda's visit on 9 December last year, just before the decisive negotiations on the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.

Hungary: "We certainly do not need more Europe, but a smarter Europe. Deeper integration should take place in those areas where joint action by the EU is more effective than national governments". - argues Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga in an interview with the daily Magyar Hírlap. "We expect the Portuguese presidency of the EU to be an honest negotiator, to implement the budget agreement, and to keep out those who try to do various tricks related to the rule of law mechanism," the Hungarian justice minister stressed.

Western Europe

Portugal: Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won the Portuguese presidential election in the first round of voting, according to exit polls. According to various post-election polls, between 57 percent and 62 percent of eligible voters voted for the incumbent centrist president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Thus, according to each poll, the politician won already in the first round of the election.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is a lawyer, academic and journalist. He served as professor and president of the Institute of Legal and Political Sciences of the Faculty of Law at the University of Lisbon until winning the 2016 presidential election.

Brussels: "Donald Trump very strongly supported the Trilateral initiative. We know that the current U.S. Congress also fully supported it, so we assume that the current President Joe Biden will also cooperate with us," Witold Waszczykowski, a Law and Justice MEP and former head of Polish diplomacy, said at a press conference on Saturday. The Trilateral Initiative brings together 12 EU countries located near the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. It includes: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The main goal of the initiative is to develop regional cooperation in energy and transport.

Baltic countries

Estonia: Estonian News Agency reported that seven ministers from the Reform Party and seven from the Centre Party, as well as former MEP Kaja Kallas (Reform Party), will form Estonia's new two-party government. The position of foreign minister will be assumed by Estonia's current ambassador to the Czech Republic Eva-Maria Liimets. In the previous government, the position of prime minister belonged to the Centre Party, while the Reform Party was in opposition, despite winning the 2019 elections. A majority vote in parliament is required to form a government. Both parties currently hold 59 seats in the 101-seat Riikikog.

After corruption accusations against current Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, which led to the resignation of his government a week ago, preventing corrupt activities will be a top priority for the new government. Meanwhile, the populist Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and the center-right Isamaa party will be in opposition.


Russia:According to independent Russian media, on Saturday, January 23, protests were held in at least 140 cities - from the Siberian Far East to the Baltic Kaliningrad Region bordering Poland and Lithuania. Police brutally suppressed peaceful protests, and 3,200 people were detained. The demonstrations are in opposition to the 30-day arrest of one of the leaders of the anti-Kremlin opposition, Alexei Navalny.




Parliamentary committees

Law and Justice



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