Analyst: Babis’ defeat will weaken the link between Prague and Budapest

“Babiš’s defeat will weaken the link between Prague and Budapest. This can further undermine the Visegrad cooperation as we currently know it" said Zdeněk Beránek, director of EUROPEUM think tank. [EPA-EFE/Szilard Koszticsak]

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his Hungarian counterpart Victor Orbán are harsh critics of the EU institutions. However, the defeat of Babiš in recent parliamentary elections could hurt relations between the capitals.

“Babiš’s defeat will weaken the link between Prague and Budapest. This can further undermine the Visegrad cooperation as we currently know it – with Viktor Orban being the dominating player,” said Zdeněk Beránek, director of EUROPEUM think tank. “The resignation of Sebastian Kurz will make the formation of ad-hoc voting and negotiating Central European groupings less likely,” he added.

Still, populists and far-right parties will be heard in Czech politics, regardless of the victory of the so-called “democratic block” formed by centre-right and centre-left coalitions. Babiš’s ANO party cannot form the government but will keep its strong position in the Czech Parliament.

Moreover, far-right parties performed well. “The parties that are openly hostile to the EU and NATO gained around 15% of the votes – Czechs are one of the most Eurosceptic nations after all,” said Beránek. However, only one far-right party – Freedom and Direct Democracy (ID) – reached the 5% threshold to enter the Czech Parliament.

(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)

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