Poland handed over the year-long rotating presidency of the Visegrad Group (V4) to Hungary at a ceremony in Warsaw on Monday.
In his address, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke highly of the cooperation between the four member states — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia — and said that without their joint efforts “hundreds of thousands [of migrants] would still be pouring into Europe, further destroying the safe lives of its peoples”. He thanked his counterparts for their countries’ assistance in border control, adding that “the four of us have succeeded in protecting not only the southern borders of Hungary but those of Europe, too.”
Orban said that central Europe “has nothing to feel ashamed of” in terms of its economy, security, culture, or the quality of its democracy, and insisted that the European Union had greatly benefitted from integrating the region’s countries.
The value of V4 cooperation between central Europe’s vibrant and viable countries is burnished in contrast to Europe’s “cooperation deficit” and lack of common purpose.
The Hungarian prime minister thanked Beata Szydlo, his Polish counterpart, for her country’s successful endeavours as V4 president.
Orban made reference to central Europe’s “hidden economic and cultural reserves” and insisted the region would continue to be the fastest developing part of the bloc, while Hungary’s V4 presidency would serve that end.