The Visegrád Group meeting began in Slovakia on Thursday. The summit, taking place in the popular tourist resort of Štrbské Pleso in the High Tatras, is expected to cover issues such as responsible social policy, technological development and the challenges faced by modern-day Europe.
The meeting will be attended by the Hungarian President János Áder, the Czech President Miloš Zeman and the Slovakian President Andrej Kiska. Presidents of the V4 member states will discuss their positions concerning the upcoming EU budget as well as common energy policy, although broader issues of the European identity and its impact on the future of the EU will also be on the agenda.
To read more about the EU issues that are on the summit’s agenda list, click HERE
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Poland is very much pro-European despite aggravated relations with EU.
“The countries from Western Europe which did not come through the communist times and post-communist times do not understand the idiosyncrasies and the different things that are happening in the central part of Europe, in the Czech Republic, in Hungary, in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia and some other countries. And this is what we try to explain, that Poland is very much pro-European, but a little bit Brussels-sceptic,” said PM Morawiecki.
To read more, click HERE
Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have called for the EU’s border management agency to be strengthened. The Visegrad Group has pushed for tough policies on irregular migration to the EU. The Visegrad group, along with Austria, has been critical of Merkel’s open-door policy to refugees.
The Visegrad group’s decision comes at a tense moment in the EU concerning irregular migration. EU member states have been locked in a heated debate on how to move forward on migration, with several countries rejecting relocation quotas.
To read how migration issue creates tensions across EU, click HERE
In Cholpon-Ata in Kyrgyzstan, at the 6th Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungary is ready for the opening of a new chapter in Hungarian-Turkic cooperation. The Prime Minister said that Hungary has always closely followed the cooperation between countries of Turkic identity, who – even in the modern world – preserve their languages, cultures and traditions, and respect and cultivate their Turkic roots.
Hungarians see themselves as the late descendants of Attila the Hun, Mr. Orbán pointed out, adding that they stand on the basis of Hun-Turkic origins, and their language is related to Turkic languages. He observed that that a people which is proud of its national identity can be strong.
To read more about Hungarian-Turkic cooperation click HERE
Czech President Miloš Zeman was roundly criticized for refusing to take part in Tuesday’s commemoration of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led forces. The chairman of the center-right TOP 09 party, Jiří Pospíšil, accused the president of neglecting his constitutional duties by not taking part in events marking such an important moment in the country’s history.
An estimated 250,000 Warsaw Pact troops and more than 6,000 tanks invaded Czechoslovakia in the early hours of August 21, 1968, to suppress the political liberalization that came to be known as the Prague Spring. The invasion and subsequent occupation resulted in the deaths of 137 Czechoslovak civilians.
To read more opinions why Miloš Zeman refused to take part in events remembering the invasion of 1968, click HERE
The European Commission on Tuesday stepped up its latest legal case against Poland, where the ruling nationalists stand accused of bulldozing the independence of courts and judges, thereby undercutting democracy.
Governed by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, the EU’s largest ex-communist state has most recently enacted laws forcing into early retirement many Supreme Court judges. The bloc, rights groups and domestic political opposition decry that as going against the rule of law.
To read why European Commission stepped up this legal case against Poland, as well to read about Poland’s position on this case, click HERE
During Slovakia’s ongoing presidency of the Visegrad Four group, the country wants to open a dialogue on current European issues involving the economic dimension as well as developing cooperation in the V4+Benelux format.
To learn more about future perspectives of cooperation between V4 and Benelux, click HERE
Heated word exchange between EPP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt and Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán Viktor is the latest chapter in an already strained relationship of Budapest and Brussels.
Bertalan Havasi, the press chief for Orbán’s office, accused Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, a Swedish member of the EPP, of misquoting the prime minister, according to the state news agency MTI.
To read more about this situation, click HERE
President Donald Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin was not as bad as some feared, because Trump did not appear to have made concessions on Ukraine, Poland’s prime minister said on Tuesday. Trump said nothing in public at this summit to criticise Russia over any of the issues – from Syria to Ukraine to the poisoning of a spy in England – that have brought relations between Moscow and the West to their lowest since the Cold War.
The friendly meeting was a notable contrast after a NATO summit last week at which Trump berated allies for failing to spend enough on defence, prompting Germany to say Europeans could no longer rely on the White House.
To read more details from speech that was held by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Trump-Putin meeting, click HERE
Slovakia has agreed a $1.9 billion deal to buy 14 U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to replace its ageing Russian-made MiG-29s, its defence ministry said on Wednesday. Slovakia picked the new F-16s made by Lockheed Martin over Swedish Gripen jets produced by Saab, calling them more modern and more advanced, according to an analysis published before the decision.
NATO member Slovakia plans to spend about 6.5 billion euros by 2030 to modernise its military, and wants to reduce its reliance on Russian equipment, but has a maintenance contract with Russia for its 12 MiG-29s until autumn 2019.
To read more about this topic, click HERE