Lancut/Rzeszow, October 15 (TASR) – We see our future in the united EU, said Slovak President Andrej Kiska at a joint conference of the presidents of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) in the Polish town of Rzeszow on Saturday.
Kiska conceded that despite the unity, there are still some areas in which the V4 countries diverge in opinion. “There are different opinions about how strong the EU should be and what role should the European Commission play. But that’s okay because we have to talk with each other, we have to be empathetic with each other and we have try to understand each other and explain things. That’s the most important,” stated Kiska after the two-day summit in Poland.
Heads of states discussed the issue of young people leaving abroad as well. Kiska said that they are dissatisfied with the local living conditions, education, justice and they often run abroad because they can’t get a job at home.
“One of the solutions is to create such an environment in our countries so that the top foreign firms would come here and what’s more important is to create conditions for development of start-up companies; of our domestic high-class firms. We have to ensure that ideas that are emerging here will be implemented and that young talented people will find a job,” noted Kiska, adding that a reform of the education system could change something.
When talking about European identity Kiska said that it’s immensely important to return to values on which our countries were originally based.
Presidents spoke about the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline project that should directly link Russia and Germany. Kiska said that all presidents have concurred in the main points. “We need to diversify our resources; we can’t be dependent just on the Russian gas,” emphasised Kiska, adding that presidents have also agreed that we should connect our countries more and invest more in the sources of green energy.
“We all have voiced our disagreement over the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline project as we’re worried about the future of Ukraine in case it’s carried through,” added Kiska.
European Commission Vice-president for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic was present at the discussion about the energy security as well. “From the European Commission’s point of view it’s obvious that if the consortium decides to continue with this project, then it has to meet all the criteria prescribed by the EU law,” said Sefcovic, also referring to the need that the project should facilitate access to the pipeline for third parties as well. It’s also essential to respect all the rules for determining capacities of the pipeline.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said that it’s of strategic importance for this area to achieve independence. He described these negotiations as a success. He said that all presidents are convinced that investments in this gas pipeline are of political character.
Hungarian President Janos Ader noted that Hungarians like to say about themselves that they’re the nation of freedom. “In fact we’re no longer fighting for freedom but for the security of the V4 and the EU,” he alerted.
“V4 has been fulfilling its duties in the EU and I dare say it has also proven worthy regarding the conflict about the quota on migrants. All V4 prime ministers have rejected any quotas or relocation mechanisms and I’m glad that this approach is being accepted by other countries as well,” stressed Czech President Milos Zeman.
He supports the idea of the EU that would be closer to its citizens, more democratic and never counterproductive, because Brexit was partly caused by the dysfunctional union. “I disapprove of the statement of Luxembourg’s Prime Minister [Xavier Bettel] that Hungary should leave the EU. It’s an expression of arrogance that no minister should dare to voice,” emphasised Zeman.