Budapest, October 15 (MTI) – The Visegrad Four (V4) countries have offered to send police officers to join their troops in helping to protect Hungary’s southern border, Kristof Altusz, deputy state secretary for the foreign ministry, told parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Thursday.
Altusz said the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the Visegrad Group, and Poland have offered to send 50 officers each, while Slovakia has offered 20 to “help their colleagues uphold public order and security” on the border.
Altusz noted that 21 Czech soldiers have already arrived in Hungary and will participate in the Balaton 2015 exercise aimed at practising logistics tasks related to the state of crisis due to mass migration. He noted that 30 Slovak soldiers are also scheduled to arrive on Nov. 1 to help their Hungarian colleagues handle the migrant crisis.
Czech Ambassador Juraj Chmiel told the committee that his country will look to boost the V4 group’s inner cohesion and trust during its presidency. He said his country is especially preparing for next February, when the group will be marking its 25th anniversary.
Chmiel touched on V4 cooperation in security and cybersecurity. He mentioned the group’s V4 plus scheme, under which the four member states would establish strong cooperation with other countries such as the US, the UK or South Korea.
On the subject of V4 cooperation, Altusz said Hungary sees “a central European V4 plus” as the realistic goal for the time being, adding that other countries could be integrated later on.
Zsolt Nemeth, the committee’s head, said that at the start of the year V4 cooperation was “seen as a lost cause” by many, which was why he said he considered the Czech presidency’s primary goal of “restoring trust” important.
Marton Gyongyosi (Jobbik), deputy head of the committee, said the migration crisis had demonstrated that Europe does not have a common neighbourhood policy, and that the V4 favour “different societies” than those envisaged by the EU’s western member states.
Chmiel, Altusz and Nemeth all pointed out that the migration crisis has taken the focus off of the Ukraine conflict as well as the state of the western Balkan countries. Nemeth said that it was important the V4 should continue to help Ukraine in ensuring that reforms there do not slow down. He said the V4 would have a role to play in finding a political solution to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.