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In the week preceding the Biden-Putin conversation, we heard many verbal skirmishes, during which the representatives of the United States repeated the mantra about the “very high cost” of a possible invasion of Ukraine, and the Russians, pretending not to hear it, spoke of the threat caused by “NATO sliding to Ukraine” East”. Putin warned the West against crossing “red lines” in Ukraine and argued that NATO was threatening Russia’s security by organizing exercises and deploying weapons close to its borders. He heard the answer twice from NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg that “any future Russian aggression against Ukraine will have a high price and serious political and economic consequences for Russia.” Deaf conversation? Maybe. However, the announcement of a direct conversation between the commander-in-chiefs is a sign that we have already crossed the peak of tension.
On Saturday, Jarosław Kaczyński hosted a conference of European nationalists and eurosceptics. His goal is to form a large right-wing faction in the European Parliament and, of course, he imagines it would be led by PiS MEPs. However, nothing will come of it. Mainly because two equally strongly represented parties in the EP are willing to take such a chairmanship: the French National Union led by Marine Le Pen and the Matteo Salvini League from Italy. Salvini made this clear by boycotting the meeting, although in April he was, together with Prime Ministers Morawiecki and Orbán, a co-creator of the idea of establishing a joint representation in Strasbourg.
This week, Germany’s new coalition government, led by the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, will be sworn in. This marks the end of the era of Angela Merkel, who remained chancellor for four terms, or 16 years. Europe owes Merkel to recover from the euro crisis, and then from the migration crisis, but critics say she is largely responsible for its harsh course. They also accuse her that the excessive care for the economic interests of Germany made her prefer to look away when it was necessary to intervene sharply, when illiberal regimes in Poland and Hungary were strengthening. Or as the restriction of civil rights continued in China, especially against the Uighurs and Hong Kong.
The previous podcast episodes are available in the list below.