Warsaw, February 17 (TASR) – The purpose of the Visegrad (V4) Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) is to seek common solutions and positions, to discuss them and then to represent them in the European Union, Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) stated on Wednesday at a press conference in Krakow, Poland, where he’s attending a summit of V4 prime ministers.
Matovic also thanked the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for their solidarity with Slovakia during the 1990s, when, according to the premier, Slovakia was “called the black hole of Europe”. In this context, he mentioned the fact that the Slovak Republic was the last to join the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO), but all the V4 countries have joined the EU together.
“My opinion is very close to that of [Hungarian Prime Minister] Viktor Orban. The protection of health and lives can’t be associated with geopolitics, the virus doesn’t choose the West or the East … it’s our duty to provide a safe vaccine no matter where it comes from,” Matovic responded to the question of whether Slovakia, following the example of Hungary, will negotiate with Russia on possible supplies of the Sputnik V vaccine before its approval by the EU regulatory authority.
Following the Slovak premier, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis also made a speech.
“V4 isn’t a political bloc. V4 is an economic bloc of 65 million of our citizens, for whose interests we fight. And, of course, we also fight for the interests of Europe,” said Babis, expressing his regret that the EU doesn’t have a clear plan for the Schengen area, the Western Balkans and Serbia. “It’s a pity because even at this moment we could use our influence there … to fight illegal migration and smugglers,” said the Czech premier.
President of the European Council Charles Michel also attended the V4 introductory meeting at the Wawel Royal Castle, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen joined them remotely.