“The appearance of a ‘strong Visegrád voice’ in the debate on the future of Europe is also in the interests of the EU”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said.
At the official opening of the Századvég Summer University, the Minister stressed: “We must make our voice heard in the debate on the future of Europe, particularly in the interests of making the EU competitive within the global economy, restoring the security of the European people, preserving our Christian culture and European identity, engaging in a fair and open debate on the next seven-year budget, protecting European democracy and enabling the enlargement of the European Union”.
With relation to competitiveness, Mr. Szijjártó said plans to introduce tax harmonisation in the European Union are unacceptable.
On the subject of security, he stressed that the shift in the position of Western Europe must also appear in the form of action. Concerning European democracy, the Minister spoke about the fact that attempting to rapidly close the debate on important issues prior to the European Parliament elections is an anti-democratic approach.
“The EU is facing historic challenges of a fundamentally security nature”, the Foreign Minister said. “At the same time, values that were previous regarded as unshakeable are currently under attack in Europe, values that used to represent the foundations of the European social and economic system”, he explained.
Mr. Szijjártó said that in his opinion an extremely lively debate has developed on the future of Europe, and although the existence of the debate itself is not bad news, the fact that the debate came almost immediately to rest on emotional foundations and everyone who does not speak according to the expectations of the European mainstream is stigmatised is bad news.
“This calls into question whether the debate can in fact have a rational conclusion”, he added.
The Minister declared that the V4 has represented the voice of common sense throughout this debate and will continue to do so in future and make their voice heard firmly in the debate.
Central Europe has become the engine of EU growth and this region is the safest in the European Union, “but we were not always courageous enough to declare this in recent years”, he noted.
In the Minister’s opinion “the figures and results are on our side” and the countries of the V4 have proven on numerous occasions that their sometimes controversial policies serve the interests of the people who live here and all Europeans.
In his speech, President of the Századvég Foundation Zsolt Barthel-Rúzsa stressed that the countries of the Visegrád Group can be proud of the fact that they have a past, because this means there are stable foundations on which to continue building cooperation.
As he explained, the V4 community is made strong by an approach that concentrates on what binds it together instead of what separates them. “Even more important, however, is the fact that our governments care about what people think with relation to the future, politics and Europe, and they act accordingly”, he stated.
Speaking earlier on Hungarian M1 television, Mr. Barthel-Rúzsa said that cooperation between the four countries of the Visegrád Group is the topic of the Foundation’s summer university, which begins on Monday, and the participants will have the opportunity to attend lectures on the role of the V4, migration and the future of Europe, and also about how the Czech republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia will be able to realise even closer cooperation in future.
Featured image: MTI