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Visegrad Group. Andrzej Duda in Prague: we will consider the proposal to increase the Visegrad Fund

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The President of Hungary proposed to increase donations to the Visegrad Fund. We will certainly consider it and propose it to our prime ministers, said President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday after the meeting of the presidents of the Visegrad Group countries in Prague.

On Wednesday, the Visegrad Group summit was held in Prague with the participation of the presidents of Poland Andrzej DudaCzech Petr Pavla, Slovakia Zuzana Czaputova and Hungary’s Katalin Novak.

The leaders discussed the most important international topics, including Fr war in Ukrainethe conflict in the Middle East and the future of the European Union.

At a joint press conference after the meeting, President Andrzej Duda emphasized that the main topics of the talks included the Visegrad Fund and its impact on development in Central and Eastern Europe. He said that Hungarian President Katalin Novak proposed to increase donations to the Visegrad Fund. – We will certainly consider it and propose it to our prime ministers – Duda announced.

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Meeting of the presidents of the Visegrad Group countries in PraguePAP/Marcin Obara

Duda about conversation topics

Another important element of the conversation – as reported by the president – was the development of infrastructure, economic development and security. – We spoke very broadly about infrastructure development, I emphasized the great importance of our Visegrad Four, here in the heart of Central Europe, also for the development of the Three Seas Initiative – said Duda. He added that Visegrad Group constitutes the “heart of the Three Seas”.

He drew attention to the importance of investments, among others, in new roads and railway connections not only for the development but also for the security of the countries in the region. President Duda said that the development of communication networks enables, among other things, the transfer of aid to Ukraine from the Baltic ports.

Andrzej Duda emphasized that the V4 presidents also talked about further support for Ukraine. – We all agree that Ukraine still needs support and Ukraine must be supported, he said.

“Slovakia has become a better cooperation partner”

The President of Slovakia said that support for an innovative and integrated economy was also discussed. – 34 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, I can say that we are successful countries because we were able to transition from a planned economy to a market economy in a short time, also thanks to reforms and accession to the European Union. Now we need to move from so-called “assembly” countries and become countries that engage in research and development that create added value, Czaputova said.

As she emphasized, the Slovak government has adopted a development and innovation strategy until 2030, which provides for investments in research and development to make “Slovakia more competitive and a better partner for cooperation, also with the Visegrad Group countries.” She added that in addition to investing funds in research and development, it is also important to introduce changes in education and the labor market.

Meeting of the presidents of the Visegrad Group countries in PraguePAP/Marcin Obara

Czaputova said that the meeting also discussed the issue of road and rail connections between the V4 countries and the issue of strengthening energy independence.

As she said, the topic of the talks was also the international situation, in particular in connection with Russian aggression against Ukraine. – Our help for Ukraine is important and sensible, because maintaining stability in our region is in our common interest, said the president of Slovakia.

President of Hungary: Russia cannot win this war

The Hungarian President emphasized that the cooperation of the Visegrad Group is “vibrant and has a great future ahead of it.” – We would like to inform all those who thought that the Visegrad Four was a non-existent group that no, we continue to exist and we still maintain contacts – she added.

– The Visegrad Group is the heart of Europe, and it is also a guarantor of security. I can say that we are an oasis of security in Europe, said the Hungarian president. In this context, she emphasized the importance of protecting external borders Schengen zone.

Referring to the war in Ukraine, she said that “we have a common position in this context – Russia cannot win this war.” – We want to help Ukraine as much as possible so that it is able to protect its country and its people in this war. We also discussed the assistance we provide to Ukraine. We will continue to try to help Ukraine, she declared.

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War in the Middle East

The presidents also raised the issue of the war in the Middle East. Novak said that Israel was brutally attacked and “is convinced of defense, wants to defend itself.” As she noted, V4 agrees that the escalation of this conflict must be prevented and the number of civilian casualties should be minimized.

The Hungarian president also called on Hamas to release Hungarian citizens held hostage, which – as she said – is “an important aspect also for ending the state of fighting and peaceful resolution of the situation.” She also assured that Jewish citizens are safe in Hungary.

Another topic discussed by the presidents was cooperation in the field of, among others: energy, including nuclear energy. – I would also like to emphasize that we should create energy independence for our countries in the long term. So that we can become independent from Russia, so that we can safely switch to other energy sources, said the Hungarian president.

Novak also referred to the situation at internal borders in the Schengen area. – We want open borders to be important not only for Hungary, so that we do not renew border controls. We want moving around Europe in the future to be seamless, without any obstacles. That’s why I asked my colleagues for cooperation and their input to limit border controls, she said.

Main photo source: EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK

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