FO° Talks: Where Is Ukraine Headed Now? What Does Europe Think?

IDM Director Sebastian Schäffer returned for another edition of FO Talks with Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Fair Observer, Atul Singh. This time they tackled the ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine, the current situation in the country as well as the different threat perceptions in the Danube Region. Having just returned from Uzhhorod and Lviv, Schäffer talked about his experiences also in comparison to his trip to Kyiv around the same time last year. While his stay in the capital was physically more dangerous, as there have been direct missile attacks, he felt the second trip to be much more psychologically draining. Having only been there for a couple of days each, one can only imagine how the constant attacks on the civilian infrastructure must be for the brave people living under these conditions in Ukraine. Schäffer also gave an assessment on the varying perspectives of countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe on the war. According to him they fall into three categories:

(1) governments in countries like Poland, Czechia, and the Baltics that have warned about the possible aggression coming from the Russian Federation,

(2) governments in countries that have to come to terms with this new reality, even if it is a painful and slow process, which would include France, Germany, and also Austria

(3) governments in countries that try to gain benefits for themselves like Hungary, Slovakia, and Serbia, which hopefully will at a certain point realize that they are at the wrong side of history.

 

Read the article here.

Daniel Martinek über die politische Radikalisierung in der Slowakei für ORF und Kleine Zeitung

Im Nachgang des Attentats auf den Ministerpräsident der Slowakei Robert Fico, sprach Daniel Martínek mit dem ORF und der Kleinen Zeitung über die politische Radikalisierung und Frustration in der slowakischen Gesellschaft.

Die Artikel können sie bei orf.at und kleinezeitung.at lesen.

Darüber hinaus wurden Martineks Analysen in der gedruckten Ausgabe der Kleinen Zeitung veröffentlicht.

Armenian Government Signals Interest in EU, Moscow Reaction Awaited – Expert talk on Ednews

Sebastian Schäffer spoke to ED News about the evolving dynamics in the South Caucasus region, the signals of the Armenian government to pursue closer ties with the European Union (EU) as well as possible reactions from Moscow. While the latter should not matter for neither Brussels nor Yerevan, an EU membership remains a distant prospect for Armenia, the IDM Director stated.

Read the article here.

Péter Techet on the Results of the 2004 EU Enlargement for RTVS Pátria Rádió

In the Hungarian-language program of Slovak Radio RTVS, Péter Techet, research associate at IDM, analyzed the results of the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 as well as the challenges the EU faces regarding the “new” members and candidate countries.

The entire program can be listened to in Hungarian here.

Sebastian Schäffer und Melanie Jaindl für Ö1: EU Diskurse: Vor welchen Herausforderungen steht Europa? (1)

Im Ö1-Radiokolleg sprachen Melanie Jaindl und Sebastian Schäffer über das Konzept Europa, die Absteckung der Grenzen des politischen Kontinents sowie bevorstehende EU-Erweiterungsrunden, insbesondere am Westbalkan. Die Sendung wurde am Montag, 13. Mai 2024, ausgestrahlt und kann in der Mediathek nachgehört werden. 

Sebastian Schäffer and Malwina Talik for Fair Observer: Will the France–Germany–Poland “Weimar Triangle” Be Europe’s New Powerhouse?

In the collaborative article, IDM Director Sebastian Schäffer, IDM Research Associate Malwina Talik, and Romain Le Quiniou analyze the resurgence of the France–Germany–Poland “Weimar Triangle” in European politics. The authors explain how historical context, recent geopolitical shifts such as the Russian war in Ukraine, and domestic politics in each country have influenced the trajectory of this trilateral forum. They argue that while past differences and periods of dormancy have characterized the Weimar Triangle, recent events have sparked a renewed interest and potential for impactful collaboration among the three countries. The authors offer insights into the motivations and expectations of each country involved, highlighting hopes for increased cooperation, security measures, and strategic positioning within the EU. As they explore the format’s challenges and prospects, they underscore the importance of institutionalizing relationships beyond high-level summits to unlock the full potential of this minilateral framework. 

You can read the whole article here.

Sebastian Schäffer on Asharq News: Humanism cannot be blackmailed

Sebastian Schäffer was invited by Asharq News to comment on recent statements by the Hungarian government reiterating that their country does not want to participate in NATO operations to transfer weapons and train Ukrainian soldiers. The IDM Director pointed out that Viktor Orban is currently facing one of the biggest anti-government protests happening in the history of the country and that the bluntness of these statements and the harsher reactions are therefore directly related to the internal situation in Hungary. Schäffer also stressed that the Hungarian government has been very reluctant when it comes to the support of Ukraine before and has used the debate about the sanctioning packages within the European Union for its own benefit: 

“[…] they want to a certain extent to benefit from the suffering that is happening in Ukraine. And this is something that I really condemn, especially if we talk about a collective security organization like NATO and a collective value community like the European Union. I would like to know what Viktor Orban would think if he was the victim of an aggression and we were debating whether we should help him or not. He’s not in this position, of course […] he is in NATO, and he can ask for the support. Ukraine can’t do that. Ukraine needs to rely on solidarity. And I can tell you, two weeks ago, I went to Ukraine, and I saw how the people are suffering there, and I saw the constant air raid alarms. I’ve witnessed air raid alarms again while being in the country and we are denying them the basic capabilities […] to defend themselves. And the Hungarian government is using this as leverage for their own benefit,” Schäffer said on the Arabic-language television channel.  

He admitted that Hungary is a sovereign country and that their decisions have to be respected. “But I am criticising that Hungary is part of a collective security treaty organisation, NATO; Hungary is part of a value community, the European Union: but they are themselves violating the value community in the European Union and they are denying the basic security of not a NATO member, but a NATO partner country, Ukraine. And here again I would ask, is it really a sovereign decision to deny the basic rights to defend oneself if we at the same time also try to personally profit from such a situation? And this is a point where I would doubt that we should have a single country blackmailing all others at the expense of the Ukrainian people”, the IDM Director concluded. 

 

Watch the video (in Arabic) here. 

Sebastian Schäffer for Cross-border Talks: The EU reform is a collective necessity

Sebastian Schäffer gave a broad interview on EU affairs, international politics and reform to Vladimir Mitev from Cross-Border Talks. Schäffer spoke in support of EU integration and further expansion. He shared his proposals for reform of the EU institutions. He also discussed about the geopolitical dynamics regarding Ukraine and its path to the EU accession, about the EU future of the Western Balkans, in support of weakening of borders inside EU, etc. Schäffer had critical comments, but also discussed about positive sides of the new EU migrant pact. He didn’t exclude that in the future the European People’s Party makes a coalition with a part of the growing conservitive and populist forces in the EU. And shared what in his view might the rise of the so-called sovereignists change for Europe. Schäffer was also critical towards the understanding that border controls inside the EU should be strengthened, when asked specifically about the agreement between Austria, Romania and Bulgaria that allowed the two Southeastern European countries to join the Schengen area.

You can listen to the whole interview here:

Péter Techet for TAZ on the Croatian elections

Péter Techet, research associate at IDM, commented on the early Croatian parliamentary elections in the German daily newspaper “taz”. He writes that while Zoran Milanović’s victory may bring internal change in a country long dominated by the conservative HDZ party, his foreign policy would be more skeptical regarding the EU and NATO.

The article can be read here.

Peter Techet for Le Figaro on the chances of the new movement against Orbán

In the French daily newspaper “Le Figaro,” Péter Techet, research associate at IDM, analyzed the possible outcomes of the new, rather conservative movement in Hungary led by Péter Magyar against Viktor Orbán. Techet said that Magyar, with his conservative rhetoric and attacks on the current opposition, might be able to reach current Fidesz voters, especially since a regime change in Hungary is not possible without the center-right, conservative electorate.

The article in French can be read here (behind paywall).