William Nattrass

William Nattrass

William Nattrass is a British journalist and Visegrád Four current affairs commentator based in Prague.

Should Hungary be punished for its stance on Ukraine?

After months of delay, the Hungarian parliament finally started the process of approving Finland and Sweden’s Nato membership this week. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party announced that it would back the two countries’ membership bids, but with Hungary the only country besides Turkey to have dragged its heels on the issue, he is again being accused of

Novak Djokovic and the real reason many Serbs support Russia

Novak Djokovic is no stranger to controversy. A year ago, the Serbian tennis star was deported from Australia after failing to comply with the country’s covid vaccination rules. Organisers of the Australian Open are once again fighting fires relating to Djokovic.  This time, it is Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, who is in trouble after he posed

Serbia’s membership talks should embarrass the EU

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz looked on with uneasy pride as leaders from six western Balkan aspiring EU members gathered in Berlin to sign new agreements this Thursday. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly also attended the summit, which aims to encourage friendlier ties in this fractious region.  Agreements

Viktor Orban is facing pressure from the right on abortion

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has become a towering figure in European politics over the past 12 years thanks to his promotion of ‘Christian democracy’ as an alternative to western liberalism, which he claims has lost its way. But a change to abortion laws introduced by the Hungarian government this week may indicate an alarming

Why Poland wants Germany to pay war reparations

Poland commemorated the 83rd anniversary of its invasion by Nazi Germany this week. To mark the occasion the leader of the country’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jarosław Kaczyński, announced that Poland was once again seeking reparations for the invasion from Germany. Speaking from the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Kaczyński unveiled a report which

Is war brewing between Serbia and Kosovo?

Serbia and Kosovo are close to conflict. Of all things, a dispute over car number plates is threatening the fragile peace won 23 years ago, after a Nato bombing campaign against then-Yugoslavia. For that, Serbs have never truly forgiven the West. On Sunday night, roads were blockaded by Serbs in northern Kosovo. Their anger was

Hungary’s revenge: Orban is sacrificing EU unity for Russian gas

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov spoke magnanimously while receiving his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó in Moscow this week. He promised that the Kremlin would ‘consider’ Hungary’s request for significantly increased gas deliveries, after Viktor Orbán’s right-hand man said his country won’t manage without more Russian resources as Europe faces a deep-freeze this winter. It’s hard

How Hungary torpedoed the EU’s sanctions crackdown on Russia

‘Hungary’s stance on oil and gas sanctions on Russia remains unchanged,’ Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltán Kovacs said on Monday. ‘We do not support them.’ Cue panic in Brussels as European Union ministers discussed a potential embargo on Russian oil imports, plans for which were presented to the European Parliament on Wednesday morning. Claims swirled that

Is Slovakia a mafia state?

As soul searching in Britain continues over Boris Johnson’s alleged proximity to a slice of cake, a different sort of rule-breaking has apparently been going on in Slovakia. The country’s former leader Robert Fico has been charged by police with leading an organised crime gang from his prime ministerial office.  The Slovak police’s ‘Twilight’ operation,

Why Viktor Orbán keeps winning

Viktor Orbán took the stage for a victory speech in Budapest last night with supporters chanting his name. Not long after polling stations had shut, it was already clear that the Hungarian prime minister’s Fidesz party had won a stonking victory against the United Opposition, a group of six parties led by small-town mayor Péter

The crisis in Ukraine is strengthening the EU

The EU has a knack for turning a crisis into an opportunity. The Eurozone crisis led to the centralisation of economic powers in Brussels; Brexit consolidated the Franco-German push for EU integration; and Covid became the pretext for EU funds being made dependent on members adhering to the ‘rule of law’ for the first time.

Hungary is standing by the EU on Ukraine

Thursday marked the beginning of a new era in European politics. Nowhere has Russia’s invasion of Ukraine been met with greater fear and trepidation than in central and eastern Europe, a region all too familiar with ‘brotherly help’ in the form of military occupation by a looming eastern power. It may be a new era

The EU is pushing Hungary and Poland to the brink

Storm clouds looming over the EU’s ‘rule of law’ dispute turned a shade darker on Wednesday. The European Court of Justice rejected challenges from Hungary and Poland against a controversial budget mechanism linking adherence to democracy and EU funding.  In an indication of the significance of the ruling for the bloc’s future, the verdict was the first

Could Viktor Orbán be a peacemaker in Ukraine?

For a politician whose calling card is the struggle for Hungarian national sovereignty, Viktor Orbán and Vladimir Putin’s press conference on Tuesday didn’t look good for the Hungarian leader. Putin abruptly walked off the stage, brusquely beckoning Orbán to follow. The Hungarian strongman dutifully picked up his papers and traipsed across the large, socially distanced

Can the Czech Republic challenge Europe’s vaccine orthodoxy?

The Omicron wave has left European counties standing at a crossroads this year. Despite the relative mildness of Omicron compared to previous variants, several countries have stormed ahead with harsher measures to protect their populations from the virus. In Austria, for example, a vaccine mandate will come into effect on Tuesday, and until last week