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Joint Press Statement - - Meeting of the Presidents of the Visegrad Group and Austria and Slovenia

12/12/2014

1. Mr. Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic, Mr. János Áder, President of the Republic of Hungary, Mr. Bronisław Komorowski, President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Heinz Fischer, President of the Republic of Austria and Mr. Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia, met in Prague from 11 to 12 December 2014 to emphasize the close ties between the Visegrad Group, Austria and Slovenia and to discuss cooperation in various fields of mutual interest.

2. The Presidents discussed the perspectives of the V4 and Austria and Slovenia cooperation in the development of road, rail, air and inland waterway transport and in strengthening energy security in Central Europe. They also exchanged views on various regional and international issues including the crisis in Ukraine and the spreading of the so called Islamic State.

3. During their meeting, the Heads of State expressed their support for cooperation among the Central European countries on all phases of preparing and implementing specific projects in road, rail, air, maritime and inland waterway transport, in the energy infrastructure and the development of information highways, wherever there is mutual interest on the part of their countries. The Presidents also underlined the significance of investments in infrastructure and agreed on the necessity of mobilization of additional financial instruments in this regard.

4. In this context, the Presidents recognized the importance of close cooperation on projects included in the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T), especially the North-South connections with a clear focus on the Baltic-Adriatic corridor in order to enhance economic growth and thus to improve the contribution of the region to the  prosperity and competitiveness of Europe.

5. The Presidents pointed out the significance of the Danube as a waterway with great potential for the future also in terms of environmental sustainability. Following this discussion the President of the Czech Republic elaborated on the Danube-Odra-Elbe water corridor and its expected positive impact on the region. From his part, the President of the Republic of Slovenia emphasized the importance of the port of Koper and its contribution to the countries of the region.

6. The leaders of the six Central European states dedicated a considerable part of their meeting to the issue of energy security. The necessity of further efforts towards diversification of energy sources and routes was clearly emphasized. The Presidents acknowledged common interest in speeding up planning and construction of major energy infrastructure projects including the North-South gas interconnection. Subsequently, The President of the Slovak Republic touched upon the necessity of early completion of gas interconnectors between Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

7. The Presidents exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine. While they welcomed the free and fair parliamentary elections in October and the recent formation of the Ukrainian government, they remain deeply concerned about the ongoing violence in the eastern provinces of the country. The Presidents expressed their support for a sustainable political solution of the crisis, which needs to be based on the respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Presidents also highlighted the importance of intensifying much needed political and economic reforms in Ukraine and expressed readiness to support them. The Presidents support the recent statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Visegrad Group on the situation in Ukraine.

8. The Presidents also discussed the situation in Iraq and Syria, where terrorists from the so called Islamic State control large swathes of territory. Their reprehensible barbarism has brought immense suffering to local populations and presents a considerable threat for the entire civilized world. In this context the Presidents commended the effort of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Jiri Ovcacek, Director of the Press Department and Spokesman for the President

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