• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland



  • “Poland’s presidency of the Visegrad Group has shown that we are serious about regional commitments,” said Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, taking stock of the Polish V4 presidency. He hailed V4’s contribution to the Rome Declaration and its emphasis on security issues as the presidency’s major achievements.


    Poland will conclude its Visegrad Group’s year-long presidency at the end of June, when it passes the baton to Budapest.


    The foreign minister met with journalists to sum up Poland’s V4 presidency. “Over the last year, the Visegrad Group has been one of the main forms of Polish engagement in foreign policy, especially in regional policy,” said Minister Waszczykowski.


    In his words, “During the Polish presidency, the Visegrad Group has shown to EU partners that it’s a responsible, active and determined group that works to defend regional interests.”


    “Our involvement in V4 work has shown that we are serious about our commitments to the region and the Visegrad Group, unlike in 2015, when Poland betrayed the Visegrad Group on the issue of migration,” said Minister Waszczykowski.


    “Over the past year, the Group has been flexible and very quick to react to many issues, including Brexit,” he said. According to Mr Waszczykowski, the Polish presidency has focused on European issues, such as the reform and future of the EU.


    Minister Waszczykowski stressed that the V4 played a major role in the drafting of the Rome Declaration, which EU leaders adopted in March to mark 60 years of the Rome Treaties. As he pointed out, the concept of maintaining the continent’s unity, which had been advocated by the V4, ultimately prevailed over what came to be known as multi-speed Europe.


    The foreign minister added that the Polish presidency has also brought such issues to the attention of the EU as the single market, the digital market, innovation, the multiannual financial framework, energy and climate policy.


    Within the V4, Poland has put international security top of the agenda. “The Visegrad Group has endorsed decisions of the NATO summit, and supported their implementation,” said the minister.


    He recalled that Poland’s presidency has seen numerous V4 plus meetings, notably the V4 prime ministers’ summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last July, the meeting with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman at the Krynica Economic Forum last September, the meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels in June, and the recent meeting with the Benelux prime ministers in Warsaw.


    On 4 July, Budapest hosts a summit of V4 leaders which will inaugurate the Hungarian presidency. According to the Polish foreign policy chief, migration will be one of the items on the four prime ministers’ agenda. The European Commission has recently decided to initiate proceedings against Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, i.e. three out of four members of the Visegrad Group, over their refusal to take in migrants.


    “We will be talking about this, but as the position of the four is quite clear, you shouldn’t expect a big discussion because there’s not much to talk about. Rather, we will reiterate our position,” said the foreign minister.


    The European Commission expects Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to give explanations within a month. “We will certainly reply within this four-week deadline, but no big surprises are likely. We will not accept forced resettlement,” he underlined. “First, these people are not refugees; second, they don’t want to come to Poland; third, we will not accept relocating them by force, and there’s no other way you can do it and no one in Europe will come up with a better idea,” he said.


    Minister Waszczykowski described as ambitious the Hungarian programme of V4 presidency. “They are kicking off in July with very interesting meetings of V4 plus Egypt and V4 plus Israel, and then they will continue, just as we did, with the V4 plus Eastern Partnership and the V4 plus the Balkans formats,” he said.


    In the minister’s view, migration will also be at the heart of the Hungarian presidency. “Budapest wants to shut the Balkan route, they built a fence along their border and do not want to become a destination for mass migration again,” said the minister.


    On 29 June, Wawel Castle will host a ceremony of handing over the V4 presidency to Hungary in the parliamentary dimension. The event will be attended by Speaker of the Sejm Marek Kuchciński and Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly Laszlo Koever. Speaker of the Senate Stanisław Karczewski is in turn travelling to Budapest, where he is to meet Mr Koever on Friday to discuss V4 cooperation.


    The Visegrad Group rotating presidency is held by one of the four member states. Poland held its previous presidencies in the second half of 2012 and in the first half of 2013.


    Source: PAP

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