Blaha: Paternalistic Relationship Belongs in Middle Ages, Not in EU

Head of Parliament's European affairs committee Lubos Blaha (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, May 22 (TASR) – The paternalistic relationship that can be seen on the part of some western EU countries towards central and eastern EU states belongs to the Middle Ages and not to the present day, stated head of the Slovak Parliament’s European affairs committee Lubos Blaha (Smer-SD) on Monday.

Following a session of the Visegrad Four (V4: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) parliamentary committees for European affairs, which took place in Bratislava earlier in the day, Blaha stated that a condescending attitude among certain EU states is directed at countries that disagree with particular EU policies. “As if some countries were harbouring the feeling that they’ve been keeping central and eastern Europe as a wife who is supposed to work and not to moan…,” said Blaha, adding that this tendency must be halted. “We’re equal partners, we’re a respected part of the Union,” he added.

Blaha went on to say that he’s glad that central Europe is being heard more strongly within the EU. “Dual food quality can serve as an example. We’re jointly criticising multinational corporations that offer [central European countries] goods of inferior quality, often at higher prices. This deceives customers and creates a category of second-class citizens that can’t be accepted,” said Blaha.

Chairman of Hungary’s European affairs committee Richard Horcsik is convinced that cooperation among the V4 parliaments is key, as “unity is strength that is currently needed not only among the V4 countries but in Europe as a whole”. Horcsik went on to say that among the main EU issues at the moment is the big gap between the activities of European institutions and people’s expectations, given the low participation in European Parliament elections in general.

As for the Czech Republic, head of its Senate’s committee for EU affairs Vaclav Hampl is aware of the fact that the V4 is viewed as a non-constructive part of the Union in some parts of Europe. “But if they had been here today, they would have seen the opposite,” said Hampl in reference to the V4 session.

Chair of the Polish European affairs committee Izabela Kloc pointed to the statement of former pope John Paul II that “there’s only one Europe, but it’s breathing with two lungs, namely West and East”. “These two lungs must be in balance so that Europe can work and develop as a whole. Building people’s confidence vis-a-vis the Union is important as well,” she said, adding that more than 70 percent of Polish people are in favour of the EU, but they want a Union that functions on the principle of reciprocity, in which both small and large countries are equally important.