The heads of government of the Visegrád Four (Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland) have agreed on the fundamental issues of the war in Ukraine, on the need to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine, to end the war as soon as possible, and about the need to ensure that Russia does not pose a threat to Europe, the four prime ministers said at a joint press conference after their meeting in Košice, Slovakia on Thursday.
After a break of more than half a year, the V4 heads of government came together to discuss the war in Ukraine and related issues, the energy crisis, illegal migration, and EU funds.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said ahead of the meeting in Warsaw, that the Visegrád Group is united by common interests and is an important strategic cooperation that protects the Central European countries against other major interest groups. He said we cannot afford to break up the V4 because it is a very important strategic agreement.
The prime ministers called the cooperation of the Visegrád countries important and necessary for the future, and stressed that despite differences on certain issues, they all have a common and fundamentally shared view on the war in Ukraine.
After the meeting, the Polish Prime Minister described it as extremely constructive, saying that despite the fact that the main topic of the meeting recently has been the differences of opinion between the V4 countries, the meeting in Košice confirmed that the Visegrád partners do need each other.
The Visegrad countries have always been winners when they have stood together,”
The Polish Prime Minister stressed that his partners agreed that the war in Ukraine should end as soon as possible, while preserving the country’s territorial integrity. He pointed out that the war would lead to further waves of refugees from Ukraine and called on the European Commission to take preliminary steps to deal with the wave of refugees and to provide more assistance to the countries concerned. He also spoke about the increasing illegal migration from the south, which he described as a serious challenge.
Mateusz Morawiecki added that the issue about the distribution of EU resources came up, which he said was “unfair for some of us and should be fair.” He said “we believe that the EU leadership should look at all Member States equally.”
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said he was convinced that V4 cooperation made sense and had a future and would continue at the ministerial level. He said that the meeting in Košice was important, where
an open dialogue was held on issues on which there are different positions,” and that while respecting these positions, there was agreement on most substantive issues regarding Ukraine, including the need to preserve its territorial integrity and to help it militarily and financially to fight Russian aggression.”
He said that energy issues were also on the agenda. “We want energy prices not to affect our countries, we want to strengthen the resilience of energy systems and we want to get rid of Russian energy dependence,” he said.
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said he had asked his counterparts for help in dealing with the looming healthcare crisis in his country, in the context of the continuing failure of the Bratislava government to reach a final agreement with medical unions demanding wage increases, which has led to more than 2,000 doctors handing in their resignations.
Featured photos via MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán