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V4 foreign ministers in Budapest | Dávid Harangozó

V4 foreign ministers speak to Hungarian diplomats

D&T
August 29, 2016

For the first time at the annual Budapest conference of Hungarian mission leaders serving in different parts of the world, diplomats were addressed by the foreign ministers of all four countries of the Visegrád Group (V4) this Monday.

At the forum for Hungarian
ambassadors, host Péter Szijjártó was of the view that the Visegrád cooperation
is in the best state it can be in at just the right time, as the European Union
is facing many serious challenges all at the same time. He was of the opinion
that in these turbulent times, the positions of the Visegrád Group hold more
weight together than they would if its members were representing those opinions
on their own. So the V4 alliance has become relevant in the debate on the EU’s
future, he added.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold
Waszczykowski stressed that central Europe expects to be taken seriously and
considered as a partner by the rest of Europe. He pointed out the NATO summit
in Warsaw last month had strengthened European cooperation. He highlighted that
Russia’s actions since 2014 had caused some cracks in the security system but
expressed hope that Russia did not intend to undermine NATO’s credibility. Minister
Waszczykowski He also underlined the need for the V4 to contribute to the
security of Europe and the region through defense cooperation and joint
military exercises.

His Czech colleague Lubomir
Zaoralek pointed out that the European Commission should be unbiased and
trustworthy and should represent unity – this is not the case at the moment, he
added. He was of the view that Europe’s job now is to rebuild its unity. The
most important task right now is to ensure the stability of the European
project after Brexit, he said. In his opinion, Britain’s decision to leave the
EU should be taken as a sign of impending radical institutional change. As for
the Visegrád Four, Minister Zaoralek said the V4 was useful in helping its four
member states enforce their interests, especially regarding the migration
crisis.

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcák pointed out that “by building a strong and respected V4 brand, we do not want to create any new division lines. On the contrary, the full use of one of the guiding principles of the EU – subsidiarity – represents also the basis of the Visegrád cooperation. We believe that this grouping has to be at the heart of discussions about key issues of future Union. Our voice must be heard aloud no matter how critical or simply different we might be,” he said. Bringing up the example of migration, he was of the view that the voice of the V4 helped the EU leaders “realize that if we fail to improve protection of external borders and reduce the influx of migrants, the situation can spin out of control. It is in V4’s natural interest to maintain fully functional Schengen system and preserve the right of free movement of people with all economic and social benefits.”

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