• Pompeo’s Trip to Central Europe Aims to Bring NATO Allies in From the Cold

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s upcoming trip to Central Europe is “the right call” by the Trump administration, according to Daniel Fried, a distinguished ambassadorial fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    After the enlargement of NATO and the European Union to encompass these countries by 2004, “a lot of Americans thought our work in the region was done, and yet it was not so,” Fried explained. With US attention shifting to other regions of the world, the once very close partnerships between the United States and these countries “became eerily normal,” said Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council. “Central Europe began to be taken for granted as Washington’s attention understandably shifted elsewhere.”

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  • Ukraine’s Golden Opportunity to Integrate with Europe That Everyone Has Overlooked

    Ukraine’s European aspirations are irreversible. A majority of the public supports NATO membership, and EU membership has long enjoyed popular support. However, wishing for integration does not make it happen. In both instances, Ukraine’s passage toward eligibility will be long and arduous. Nevertheless, opportunities are currently opening up for Ukraine to integrate with its European neighbors at the sub-regional level, in which selected countries from a larger region band together for a common purpose and share mutually beneficial investments. These opportunities are important and should not be overlooked.

    One such example of sub-regional cooperation among neighbors recently took place.

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  • From Russia with Hate: The Kremlin’s Support for Violent Extremism in Central Europe

    In 2016, the mayor of Ásotthalom, a small Hungarian town close to the country’s southern border, celebrated the opening of Gagarin Street with an obelisk to Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin and a speech about Russia’s greatness. The mayor was László Toroczkai, an extremist politician who serves as the vice president of the far-right Jobbik party; he is known for having organized vigilante groups to beat up refugees and banned Muslims and gay people from his village.

    A high-level diplomatic guest attended the event: the leader of the Russian Consulate to Hungary. This case raises two questions. First, why did a far-right politician who had previously been proud of his anti-communism celebrate a hero of the Soviet Union? Second, why was a Russian diplomat openly legitimizing a controversial politician?

    The short answer: Moscow sees the advantage of such “friendships” and invests in them.

    When it comes to Russian efforts to incite violence, one usually thinks of the “little green men” in Crimea, or Russia’s proxies in eastern Ukraine. But Political Capital has conducted an extensive research project on Russian actors and hate groups in Central Europe, and has found that Moscow built up diplomatic, political, and sometimes financial ties to violent organizations in Central and Eastern Europe as well, though those activities have received much less international attention.

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  • Rebuilding Trust in the European Union

    Faced with challenges posed by Brexit, an unprecedented influx of migrants, and feeble economies, the European Union must work hard to rebuild confidence among European publics, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák said at the Atlantic Council on October 6.

    “Our main focus now is bringing the European Union closer to Europeans,” said Lajčák. Slovakia holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

    “We need to restore confidence and show that the Union works and makes the lives of ordinary people safer and better,” he added.

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  • NATO Summit Special Series: Slovakia

    In the case of Slovakia, the nearly two years that have passed since the last NATO summit in Wales, have been marked by a discrepancy between the official statements by government officials and the practical steps required to fulfill Bratislava’s political and military commitments to the Alliance.
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  • Polyakova in Foreign Policy: A Country in the EU Just Put Fascists in Its Parliament

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  • Poland Raids NATO Center in Warsaw

    From Henry Foy, Financial Times: Poland has replaced the head of a NATO-affiliated facility in Warsaw during a midnight raid by defence ministry officials and military police on its office, in the latest move by the country's new government to take control of state agencies.
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  • Nine Heads of State Call on Alliance to 'Strengthen the Eastern Flank of NATO'

    "We, the Presidents of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic and the President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.
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  • Will the European Union’s Plan to Distribute Migrants Hurt Europe?

    European ministers on September 22 approved a plan that would force EU member states to take in their share of 120,000 migrants, a majority of whom are fleeing the war in Syria.

    In an unusual break from procedure, which emphasizes consensus on issues of national sovereignty, the ministers decided the issue on the basis of majority rules. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia voted against the plan. Finland abstained.

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  • What Europe Needs to Do to Solve its Energy Security Problem

    Over the past few years, the European Union (EU) has sought to enhance its energy security by implementing the Third Energy Package, proposing an Energy Union, holding Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom to competition rules, and actively pursuing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

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