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  • 30 August 2016

    “The Visegrad Group should speak with a strong voice in the discussion on the European Union’s future; this is also in the interest of Germany and other countries,” foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski told a Hungarian ambassadors conference in Budapest on Monday.

    Poland’s top diplomat took part in the Hungarian ambassadors conference in Budapest. He also held talks with his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary as part of a Visegrad Group (V4) meeting.



    In his address, Mr Waszczykowski emphasized the importance of the NATO summit in Warsaw. In his view, decisions to reinforce the Alliance’s eastern flank go to show the solidarity among all the NATO members. As the minister said, when implemented, these decisions will make the division into ‘old’ and ‘new’ members obsolete.


    The minister pointed out that the arrangements made by the Warsaw summit “resulted from a compromise, for they respected, among other things, the sensitivities of certain member states, including Germany’s, about the NATO-Russia Founding Act, while also giving a strong position to Germany, which assumed responsibility for one of the battalion groups.” “This is valuable given that not all NATO member states, V4 partners being no exception,  share Polish concerns and our assessment of Russia’s aggressive stance,” said the chief of Polish diplomacy.


    Turning to his Hungarian colleague Peter Szijjarto, the Polish foreign minister recalled his words that he did not expect a Russian attack on any NATO member. “Let’s hope time will prove you right. But what I know for sure is that in 2014, for the first time since 1945, war and aggression became part of European politics, while the OSCE, an important pillar of the European security architecture, turned out to be unable to effectively deal with the Ukraine crisis,” said Mr Waszczykowski in a reference to the annexation of Crimea.


    Poland’s top diplomat expressed his conviction that “Russia will resort to any means to compromise NATO’s unity.” That is why, in his view, the Warsaw summit was “only the beginning of the process of implementing” the Alliance’s decisions, a process that must be part and parcel of NATO actions. As the minister emphasized, establishing a permanent rotating presence of allied troops in Poland and the Baltic states is a necessity.


    The Polish foreign minister went on to discuss the situation of the European Union in the wake of Brexit. He warned against integration projects that would involve only some EU member states. In his opinion, this would spell an end of the European integration as we know it. He emphasized that a strong voice of the V4 should be heard in discussions about the EU’s future, which is one of the priorities of Poland’s current rotating V4 presidency. This is also in the interest of Germany and other countries, as divided Europe is weaker Europe,” said Waszczykowski.


    For his part, Szijjarto said that “the EU should be enlarged to make it stronger.” “We live in the neighbourhood of the Western Balkans, and we are well aware of the fact that European integration is the best path to the West’s security and stability. Consequently, we will be supporting  our Western Balkan colleagues and we support the Slovak presidency in keeping the EU’s enlargement into the Western Balkans on the agenda,” he underlined.


    According to the Hungarian foreign minister, the V4 is currently the closest and most effective alliance in Europe. In his words, the V4 has enough courage to “call things by their proper name” and speak frankly instead of using insincere and politically correct phrases.


    “Never before has Visegrad cooperation been so good. It is important because Visegrad cooperation has reached its best condition at the best moment. Ever since the end of WWII, neither Europe nor the EU has faced so many so serious challenges: the war in Ukraine, terrorist threats, the migrant crisis, outstanding energy security issues, economic challenges, and Brexit could in themselves represent a historic challenge,” he remarked.


    As he emphasized, at this tumultuous time the voice of the Visegrad Group is “much more powerful than if we were to articulate the same opinions separately.” The closest possible Visegrad cooperation should manifest itself everywhere in the world, for it gives Hungary the best guarantee of achieving its objectives. He added that the goals of Hungary are not in opposition to the goals of Poland, the Czech Republic or Slovakia.


    Czech minister Lubomir Zaoralek observed that the European Commission should be impartial, keep its word, and advocate compromise, which is currently not the case.


    Slovak foreign minister Miroslav Lajcak stressed that the EU has two options to choose from: it will either react to the demands of citizens, or descend into crisis.


    On Monday, Mr Waszczykowski  also attended the German ambassadors conference in Berlin. His two-day visit to Germany was part of celebrations marking 25 years since the establishment of the Weimar Triangle, which comprises Poland, Germany and France.


    In Budapest, Poland’s top diplomat also held talks with the chair of the foreign affairs committee of the Hungarian parliament.


    Source: PAP

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