Day One of the V4 Presidents Summit
The V4 Presidents Summit is taking place from the 2nd to the 3rd of October 2019. It is hosted annually by the V4 presiding country. The summit is usually divided into two parts: Day 1 is only devoted to the meeting in the V4 format, whereas Day 2 welcomes the guests – the presidents of Slovenia and Serbia.
Day 1 of the Summit, i.e. the 2nd of October 2019, held two plenary sessions and a working lunch: the V4 presidents’ meeting focused on the EU agenda. The reasons are clear – the general elections to the European Parliament were held in May, a new European Commission is being established, the EU is tackling an array of issues and topics that have extensive strategic consequences (e.g. the Brexit).
The first block was designed as a strategic debate on the roles and ambitions of the V4 in the “new” EU and in the wider context of the European continent, on the strengths and weaknesses of the EU and on the V4 allies in asserting their common themes.
At the start of the Summit, the president of the Czech Republic cordially welcomed the Slovak president Ms. Zuzana Čaputová, for whom it is the first meeting of the Visegrad format. In his speech, the president of the Czech Republic also pinpointed that the Visegrad Group embodies, and shall embody in the future, the “common-sense” Europe, which also became the slogan of the Czech presidency to the V4. It means, inter alia, that we will devote ourselves to the substantial strategic challenges Europe is facing nowadays, and we will do so in an open and fair way, unvarnished and clear of redundant correctness.
The discussion showed that such challenges include safety, such as illegal migration risks (at this point, the president highlighted the refusal of the immigration quotas as a major accomplishment of the V4), the climatic change and self-sustainable energy sources, digitalization and robotisation, the present state of affairs in the infrastructure (primarily in the transport infrastructure) and sustainability of the internal market. All these areas pose opportunities for the Visegrad cooperation which can only be successful if the countries remain united, to which all the attending presidents pledged.
The second block focused on the present issues of the EU in more detail, namely the multiannual financial framework, energy and climate policies, Brexit and a range of specific infrastructure projects.
The president of the Czech Republic called Brexit the main issue. The presidents agreed that all Brexit scenarios remain open whilst the V4 countries are ready to support the UK in their request for the extension of the Brexit deadline.
With regard to the new EU multiannual financial framework, the V4 presidents agreed on the V4 priorities being the sustainable appropriate funding in the cohesion area as well as agriculture and transport infrastructure.
All presidents also emphasized the need of the climatic measures to stride hand in hand with the industry and competition, and that these measures must reflect the specific situation and needs of the individual countries.
Jiri Ovcacek, Director of the Press Department and Spokesman for the President