In this week’s print edition, The Economist reflected upon the persisently unwelcoming attitude of Visegrad countries towards refugees and the troubling shift of the region’s politics towards the illiberal right. The Visegrad countries are stubbornly reluctant to accept their share of refugees coming to Europe, with Slovakia and Hungary filing a lawsuit against the EU’s quotas to redistribute migratns. In all countries, the politicians used the refugee issue and resorted to the populist politics to attract votes. The conservative Law and Justice party (Pis) elected in November in Poland has already introduced a number of laws concerning media and constitutional tribunal that stirred concerns abour Poland’s commitment to the rule of law.

The migration crisis gave an impulse to the Visegrad unity, but for an unsettling reason. Formed to accelerate the region’s integration in the EU, the today’s Visegrad illiberal turn might lead it down a slippery slope. “Rising Euroscepticism could backfire on the group. Informal talks on the next multi-year EU budget have begun, and Germany has hinted that it will favour countries that share the burden of refugees. Already many European officials are growing impatient with the group. Milan Nic of the Central European Policy Institute recalls the days when Austrian politicians, for example, used to talk about the Visegrad group with respect. “Nowadays”, he says, “Visegrad is like a bad word.”

The original article is available here.