London is preparing to use the Visegrad Group against the EU

MOSCOW, 23 Oct 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to hold a UK–Visegrad Group summit early next year. According to the Sunday Express newspaper, this “may further increase tensions in London’s relations with the European Union”.

The point is that, according to sources in the British Foreign Ministry, the prime minister wants to build alliances with countries “sympathetic to the British” in order to repel “growing hostility from France”. A high-ranking official close to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss joked: “Perhaps we should create an advisory group for leaving the EU”. The joke is quite evil and, obviously, in Brussels, and even more so in Paris and Berlin, it will be remembered.

However, London is sure that France and the EU leadership intend to punish it for Brexit. Apparently, anti-British rhetoric will also be abundantly present during the presidential elections in France next year and it is the current head of state Emmanuel Macron who will resort to it.

A source close to Truss noted two things. Firstly, the minister believes that today “the EU is mainly France”, since Macron can determine the foreign policy of the European Union, since Germany’s influence has decreased after the departure of Angela Merkel. Secondly, Truss currently spends a lot of time talking to colleagues from the Baltic states and the Visegrad Group, and they “seem much more receptive and friendly”.

We will recall that the Visegrad Group or the “quartet” unites countries such as Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Regarding the latter one, there is information that Prague is interested in the possibility of holding talks with Johnson in the year when the Czech Republic will preside in the EU, because it considers Britain as a “valuable ally.” However, in RUSSTRAT’s opinion, London will still place the main bet on another partner. Namely, Warsaw.

It should be remembered that Poland is the only one in the “quartet” and the second state in Europe (the first one, paradoxically, is France), which managed to enter into the format of intergovernmental consultations with Britain and conclude a bilateral agreement on cooperation and security.

As Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in 2017, “Britain is in the process of Brexit, but this does not mean that it is leaving Europe. Britain is leaving the EU, but the United Kingdom will remain our key ally in NATO and the structures that ensure security in the framework of defence and foreign policy”.

At the same time, London sees Warsaw as its own “hands” both in the European Union and beyond. When, in this same 2017, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was ready to drastically reduce the budget of the Polish propaganda TV channel Belsat, broadcasting to Belarus, due to its inefficiency, Britain promised to provide a grant of £5 million to support the channel as part of “strengthening our capabilities to identify and counter Russian information operations”.

By the way, back then some Polish experts expressed doubts that in reality London was interested in Moscow, since it gave the impression that the operation was directed against Germany.

Of course, the Czech Republic is also a convenient partner for Britain, but only in terms of organising information provocations. Since London cannot directly outline the true purpose of organising a summit with the Visegrad Group countries, that is, the creation of a “sabotage squad” to split the European Union, a cover-up operation should be expected.

It is absolutely clear that it is the necessity to “fight the Russian threat” that this operation will become. This means that Moscow will face attempts by the British to repeat the special operation carried out this spring in connection with the investigation of the explosions of Czech armoires in Vrbetice.

Back then, the Czech Foreign Ministry took unprecedented aggressive measures against Russia, although at the same time gave away the real orderers. As Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek stated in April, his department “consults with its NATO allies from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom about the methods of advancing the case, namely, in connection with their experience of how these states acted in cases of the missile attack of flight MH17 over Ukraine or the poisoning of former GRU colonel and Russian agent Sergey Skripal in British Salisbury”.

So London has the experience of playing Prague to its own advantage. However, it is difficult for it to find anyone better than Poland for systematic work from the “four” countries. Warsaw itself uses political Russophobia in foreign policy, there is no need to convince about it. Moreover, the Polish ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) has now entered into a serious conflict with Brussels, so it will be very interested in the possibility of weakening the hated European Commission with the help of the British.

Therefore, the answer to the question of whether Poland will become the main British anti-European battering ram and a springboard for anti-Russian provocations as part of a cover operation looks obvious. It will. And both Brussels and Moscow will have to deal with this.

Institute for International Political and Economic Strategies – RUSSTRAT

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