New Central Europe Wants Region Identified with EU Values

Progressive Slovakia leader Ivan Stefunko (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 18 (TASR) – Fighting for a different Central Europe that recognises its European identity and values and is determined to take the lead in rebuilding the European project is among the goals of the New Central Europe initiative, which signed its declaration on cooperation in Bratislava on Monday.

The initiative, which features representatives of the political movements Momentum of Hungary, NEOS of Austria, Nowoczesna of Poland and Progressive Slovakia, met in the Slovak capital earlier in the day as part of the Progressive Slovakia’s Idea conference.

“Central Europe needs a new vision for its future in Europe. Following decades of crisis the EU is now heading for a change and a renaissance, but Central Europe remains imprisoned between provinciality and stagnation,” reads a statement by the New Central Europe initiative.

“We’re sincerely pro-European-oriented parties and political forces, and we want to represent the same sincerely pro-European-oriented public in this region,” said Progressive Slovakia leader Ivan Stefunko.

According to Austrian MEP and member of the NEOS movement Angelika Mlinar, a pro-European attitude can win an election. The Central European countries are aware of the fact that democracy, the rule of law and human rights are values worth fighting for, stated Mlinar. “That is also the core of this initiative,” she added.

“I come from a country where its head Viktor Orban is clearly anti-European and anti-EU, while people in Hungary are clearly pro-European oriented, just like the Momentum movement,” said the movement’s vice-chairman Tamas Soproni, adding that the opposition Hungarian political movement wants to find allies in the region and fight for the European vision.

Representative of the Polish movement Nowoczesna Ryszard Petru views the Visegrad Four group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) as dead and inoperative. “The idea was excellent, but the countries are led by politicians who do not represent society,” said Petru. He went on to say that the movements that have signed the joint declaration want to share the values of tolerance, prosperity as well as other European values.

The political movements in its statement declared their interest in future cooperation, dialogue, campaign, stances and joint political actions.