János Áder would have been expected to visit the city of Bochnia in Poland on March 23, on the occasion of the day of Polish-Hungarian friendship, but now it seems like the Hungarian president will not travel.
The statue of St. Kinga, the daughter of Hungarian King Béla IV, would have been unveiled on March 23 in the southern Polish city of Bochnia by Hungarian President János Áder and Polish President Andrzej Duda, but the organisers cancelled the program, Azonnali.hu was informed.
According to the news, the current Hungarian president, János Áder, is not travelling to Poland at all. (Katalin Novák, the new Hungarian president, will take office on 10 May.)
By Friday afternoon, the Polish side still had not received a request for permission from the Office of the President of the Republic of Hungary to allow the armed bodyguards of János Áder to cross the Polish border.
This is, of course, a formality, and on a friendly presidential visit, the host country quasi-automatically grants permission, but it is a “mandatory circle” to be run between the official bodies of the two states.
It seems likely that the program will be officially “postponed” because of the war, but many say the reason was that Andrzej Duda did not want to show up publicly with his Hungarian counterpart at such a protocol event because of Hungary’s pro-Russian stance.
The Hungarian and Polish parliaments declared March 23 as the day of Polish-Hungarian friendship in 2007, and since then, both countries have been celebrating with special programs. Due to the pandemic, personal meetings were cancelled in 2020 and 2021, but, for example, a virtual commemoration was held in 2021 by János Áder and Andrzej Duda, the presidents of the two countries.
Although the current political situation does not affect the people who will surely carry on the friendship, it seems that the Polish-Hungarian relationship has been strained due to the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The Visegrád Four Alliance has so far worked in two ways: as a Central European association capable of representing the 4 participating states (the Czech Republic and Slovakia besides Hungary and Poland) in the European political arena, and between the 4 states.
It has provided an opportunity for political and professional cooperation. However, the Visegrád Four have not been completely united: while Hungary and Poland have resisted some policies within the EU, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have shown a much friendlier approach to the political elite in Brussels.
If the current Polish-Hungarian political alliance weakens, Orbán’s position on the international political scene will certainly become more difficult. He will have difficulties asserting his will if he loses his main ally, and Poland will obviously look to new allies.
The Polish prime minister, for example, along with the Czech and Slovenian prime ministers, recently visited war-torn Kyiv, while Orbán did not join them.