Caputova: V4 Can’t Only Be about Protecting Regional Interests

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Slovak President Zuzana Caputova and Hungarian President Janos Ader (photo by TASR)

Budapest, July 11 (TASR-correspondent) – The way in which Slovaks and Hungarians perceive the EU membership of their respective countries, i.e. with high levels of support, is what brings Slovakia and Hungary together, Slovak President Zuzana Caputova stated on Thursday after meeting her Hungarian counterpart Janos Ader.

“On behalf of the Slovak Republic I can say that I have no doubts that Slovakia is doing well to a great extent especially thanks to European integration and not thanks to the return of powers to individual states,” she stressed.

She also addressed accusations in Hungary’s pro-government media that she’s an agent of American financier George Soros. She called these claims lies that she encountered as early as during her presidential campaign and called on the media to avoid conspiracy-theory propaganda.

“Nowadays, what brings us together are joint projects, intensive trade exchanges but also the 450,000 Slovak citizens who declare Hungarian roots. I’m convinced that constructive and honest communications need to be a base for relations between our countries. We shouldn’t close our eyes to important matters and should openly communicate what we don’t like,” she said, adding that she sent Hungary a clear signal that liberal democracy is what guarantees equal rights to all people and that it’s the best way of protecting all minorities in Slovakia.

Caputova admitted that there are areas on which the countries have different views. One of these is how they perceive the EU’s future.

The two presidents also addressed the current mission of the Visegrad Four (V4: Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary). Caputova told Ader that if V4 cooperation is to be meaningful, it can’t only be about protecting regional interests. “It has to be about promoting democratic values, the values of freedom and the rule of law and values of European integration, as was stated in the original agreement on whose basis the V4 was created. So that we aren’t perceived as those who are dividing or undermining the EU. That’s one of the reasons why today I’ll pay homage to former [Hungarian] president Arpad Goncz, whom I view as a symbol of promoting these values,” stressed the Slovak president.

The two also touched on topics such as responsibility towards the environment, climate change and a zero-carbon economy. They agreed that these topics are key for both countries, which should do their utmost in search of global consensus on these issues.