Lancut/Rzeszow, October 14 (TASR correspondent) – The presidents of the Visegrad 4 (V4) group of countries (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) opened their summit in Poland on Friday with a minute of silence to honour the recently deceased Michal Kovac, who participated in these meetings as Slovakia’s first president between 1993-98.
The summit was organised by Poland as the country presiding over the V4. It’s taking place at Lancut Castle and in the Polish town of Rzeszow. Slovakia is being represented at the summit by President Andrej Kiska. The heads of state have met with the aim of boosting the importance of the V4 and of summarising its successes on the 25th anniversary of its founding.
The summit was opened by Polish President Andrzej Duda. “We started cooperating 25 years ago. Our main goal at that time was to integrate our countries into European structures,” said Duda, adding that all V4 members are now members of both the European Union and NATO.
According to Duda, there was a risk in the 1990s that the V4 countries would remain in a grey security zone between East and West. “Our activities were aimed at removing differences between East and West,” he stated.
In the first part of the summit the presidents were set to pay attention to the young generation in V4 countries, focusing on the opportunities for improving its prospects in areas such as earnings, personal development, support for families, scientific research, education, sport and tourism. “Support for start-ups plays a key role here,” stressed Duda, who added that the utmost must be done to create suitable conditions for their development in V4 countries, thereby preventing movements abroad.
The heads of state are also slated to discuss European identity, its traditions, values and culture. “We must ask the question: What kind of Europe do we want to belong to? What is the core of European identity?” said the Polish president.
In conclusion, the presidents should deal with the energy security of V4 countries. Duda believes that the V4’s priority should be a real diversification of energy supplies in order to provide public security. These talks should also be attended by European Commission Vice-president for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic.
Polish President Duda, Slovak President Kiska, Czech President Milos Zeman and Hungarian President Janos Ader are also scheduled to visit the newly opened Ulma Family Museum in Markowa on Friday, which is dedicated to Poles who saved the lives of Jews during WWII.
This is the second time that the aforementioned individuals have met as presidents. The first time was in December 2015 in Balatonfured in Hungary, when they concurred that the migration issue needs to be addressed as a humanitarian, criminal and national security issue, that protection of the EU’s external borders needs to be reinforced and that entry into EU territory should be controlled.