Jaroslaw Kaczynski (C), Ryszard Terlecki (L) and Elzbieta Witek of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, listen to a debate as they attend a Parliament session in Warsaw, Poland January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
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Poland's crackdown on the judiciary and public media, emulating Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's accumulation of power, has raised fears in the European Union of a new illiberal axis based on the Visegrad group of central European states.But diplomats say that beyond an occasional joint effort to block an unpopular EU policy, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have too little in common to form a coherent bloc to resist deeper EU integration or dismantle liberal values.They differ on major issues such as relations with Russia, ties with Germany, membership of the euro currency and the place of religion in their societies.Nearly 12 years after they joined the EU, the four states have little interest in being lumped together in the eyes of investors as an awkward squad of ex-communist countries.Diplomats said Poland hoped to build a so-called blocking minority within the 28 member states after losing voting clout when the EU reformed its decision-making system in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty to give greater weight to population size.
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