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Visegrad Four meet informally ahead of EC Summit

The Visegrad Four countries – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – held an extraordinary, informal meeting in Budapest on Thursday to discuss future cooperation.

Published: June 14, 2019, 8:57 am

    Budapest

    Czech daily Lidove Noviny cited unnamed sources, saying that the the prime ministers of the four countries will agree on joint candidates for the top positions, mainly for the president of the European Commission and the Council, when they attend the Council’s summit next week in Brussels.

    During their meeting, they agreed on putting forward a united standpoint.

    The meeting was initiated by Czech leader Andrej Babis, and the goal is to keep the V4 united despite the fact that all its ruling parties represent different party families.

    The Hungarian PM’s  chief press officer said on Thursday that the meeting was held at the Castle District premises of the Prime Minister’s Office, where the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia discussed the future of Europe, the election of new EU leaders and the Czech Republic’s upcoming V4 presidency.

    Bertalan Havasi told Hungarian press service MTI that the V4 premiers were in agreement that the grouping plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the continent. They are aware of the responsibility they carry, in playing an active role in the debates on the future of the EU, including on personnel issues, he added.

    The V4 is focused on central Europe and Visegrad cooperation. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis also briefed his counterparts on the main objectives of his country’s upcoming V4 presidency.

    Babis tweeted that the next European Commission should be led by a candidate reflecting the needs of all EU member states and not one of the “Spitzenkandidaten”, or lead candidates proposed by factions in the European Parliament.

    “We don’t have a candidate for the chief of the European Commission,” Babis told the media in a live broadcast on Czech television.

    “The point is for us all to choose the best candidate for everybody, so it is not about the V4 having (a candidate) for the post of the European Commission president, not even for the European Council. I think that we don’t have such ambitions.”

    Belarus has meanwhile expressed interest in expanding mutually beneficial and long-term cooperation with Slovakia and the EU in general. “We view the European Union as a powerful integration platform, and we treat Slovakia as one of like-minded nations,” he said.

    The speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic said that he is ready to promote a greater involvement of the Belarusian parliament in the events of the Visegrad Group. Slovakian representative Andrej Danko shared the opinion of his Belarusian counterpart about the need to intensify the work of the parliamentary friendship groups. “It would be great to arrange bilateral meetings of certain commissions as early as August,” he added.

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