National parliaments must maximise their impact on European policymaking and Visegrad cooperation should “jointly promote a shared future” in the European Union, László Kövér, the speaker of parliament, said in Cracow on Thursday at a ceremony to hand over the V4 rotating presidency to Hungary at parliamentary level.
The Hungarian presidency “cannot aim for less than to maintain V4 unity and its ability to react to major European issues,” he said, adding that Hungary’s presidency would also seek to further strengthen the group’s stabilising role in the region while sending “a strong message that the V4 will contribute to the stability and growth of Europe, and seek to participate in key European discussions as a constructive partner.”
European security will “remain fragile” in the coming year, he said, adding that he expected further disputes over migration. “The European Union will pay less attention to our immediate vicinity, the Western Balkans and eastern Europe, or to further enlarging the community.”
“Political pressure from Brussels and some EU members” on the Visegrad countries, especially on Hungary and Poland, will not ease, Kövér said, adding that the “attempts to weaken cohesion within the Visegrad group” would continue.
Concerning details of the Hungarian presidency, Kövér highlighted support for tighter relations with the Western Balkans and with countries in the Eastern Partnership programme, as well as infrastructure, digital, and research and development projects in those regions.
Kövér noted that the Visegrad countries had an overall population of 60 million and represented great economic potential, adding that the Hungarian presidency would promote opportunities arising from those facts.
Polish Sejm Speaker Marek Kuchcinski presented Kövér with a a bell adorned with the coats of arms of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
Kuchcinski said that European institutions should “promote equal, free and sovereign states”, and noted that an endeavour of the Visegrad cooperation was to strengthen the role of national parliaments in the cooperation with those institutions.
Later in the day, Kövér opened an exhibition on Hungary’s Saint Ladislaus, born in Cracow, and said that the 11th-century king had protected the country’s sovereignty against both the west and the east. Ladislaus had strengthened both the Hungarian state and Christianity, successfully resisting both the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, Kövér argued. “Ladislaus’s achievements in building a state, protecting a nation and strengthening Christianity is an eternal example to be followed by us all.”
Kuchcinski called Ladislaus “a just king and a champion of Jesus”.
The ceremony was attended by Hungarians attending the Black Madonna of Czestochowa pilgrimage to Poland.