The Visegrad Group cooperation has become a success story over the past 30 years, and its members — Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland — can be proud of their achievements, Speaker of Parliament László Kövér said in his opening address to a V4 meeting in Visegrad, the birthplace of the initiative, north of Budapest, on Thursday.
Kövér noted that the proponents of the initiative had joined forces in central Europe with the aim of better promoting their interests in the process of European integration.
Participants in the Visegrad meeting will discuss the future of the Europe as well as its values and interests, Kövér added.
Péter Sztáray, state secretary of security policy at the foreign ministry, said the two items on the agenda were no coincidence: discussions about the future of Europe embraced the broader geographical community rather than just the European Union, and included the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership countries, and this tied in with discussions about the political, economic and security situation of central Europe.
He said it was highly important that the central European region, as “the engine of Europe”, should overcome the pandemic together and reboot the region in short order. With its 65 million people, the region has produced the highest growth in the EU while finding political unity on many issues, Sztáray added.
For the region’s successful economic relaunch, a common position is needed in areas such as the digital switchover as well as the energy and green transition, he said.
He said the V4 was also working closely with European and global partners who are playing a growing role in central European investments. It is in all four countries’ interests to address these players together, he said.
At the conclusion of the conference, Kövér said the common goal of the V4 was to help enhance the EU’s competitiveness and its efficacy in an increasingly competitive world. He added that the EU was not an alternative for any country, according to a statement.
He noted that the biennial Conference of Speakers of Southeast European Countries, being held for the 10th time, will be held in Parliament tomorrow. Participants, no matter their political affiliation, unanimously urge EU institutions to speed up the accession process of south-eastern European nations, he said.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Oliver Várhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy, are also scheduled to attend the meeting, he added.
The Hungarian government, Kövér said, wants the countries of south-eastern Europe to formally participate in this debate.
featured image via Tamás Kovács/MTI