Leaders of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia will present their vision for a more nationalist European Union (EU) at a summit in Bratislava next week. They will argue for an EU that has strong borders and protects the national identities of its member states, but has limited ability to interfere with countries’ domestic matters.
Leaders from the so-called “Visegrad” group nations will say Britain’s decision to leave the EU reveals many are opposed to the agenda of the bloc’s elites on issues like globalisation and immigration.
They will use the meeting, at which European leaders — minus Theresa May — will discuss the EU’s future after ‘Brexit’, to argue for a “counter-revolution” against the pathologically liberal and anti-nationalist vision of the bloc’s founders.
The summit in the Slovakian capital is expected to expose the rift between the former Communist states and Western elites, the latter of whom are committed to a European project based on open borders and markets.
Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, promised to use the meeting to demand Brussels do more to uphold the “historic, religious and national identity” of states within the bloc.
During a televised debate in Poland, he said: “Brexit is a fantastic opportunity for us. We are at a historic cultural moment. There is a possibility of a cultural counter-revolution right now.
“People don’t change, national and religious identities still have their place. There’s no European identity that could replace them.”
The populist leader urged the EU to end mass immigration that “eliminates historical identities” and to restrict “international capital”, arguing that “economic patriotism is a valid topic to discuss”.
Mr. Orbán warned: “Only those nations that have their historic, religious and national identity will survive and be strong.”
The leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, echoed the Hungarian leader’s desire for change in the bloc.
“Europe needs deep changes. These changes must be rooted in a cultural counter-revolution reminding us that Europe has a wealth of European cultures,” he said.
Hungary will hold a referendum in four weeks’ time on the EU’s plan to force countries to accept a quota of migrants redistributed from the countries on the frontline of the “migrant crisis”, Italy and Greece.