V4, Benelux parliament speakers meet in Slovakia
Europe can only preserve its role and weight in the world if cooperation within the European Union is made more effective in the future, Speaker of Parliament László Kövér said after meeting his Visegrad Group and Benelux colleagues in Piestany (Pöstyén), in western Slovakia, on Monday.
Addressing a joint press conference with his colleagues, Kövér said the EU faced a number of obstacles to improving the effectiveness of cooperation among its member states, adding that there were also many disagreements on how to resolve this challenge.
He said one possible solution was for EU institutions to “take a more modest approach” to their dealings with member states.
“Member states should be left to resolve the problems that they have the competencies to address,” Kövér said.
The EU should only work on coming up with joint solutions to problems that actually concern pan-European interests, he added.
Kövér said the speakers were in agreement that member states would only overcome the obstacles to compromise through dialogue. This way, member states can identify the issues on which they are unlikely to reach an agreement. The speakers also agreed that regional cooperation improves, rather than hinders, the effectiveness of the EU’s operations.
Slovak House Speaker Andrej Danko said
the EU should not be “scared of the V4”, as the grouping was only looking to implement reforms in the bloc.
Czech Parliamentary Speaker Radek Vondracek said the meeting was another testament to the strength and raison d’etre of the V4.
Marek Kuchcinski, speaker of the Polish Sejm, said the forthcoming European parliamentary elections would be a new start for the EU. He said the bloc must find a solution to the “crisis of its civilizational values”, adding that the goal was to keep the EU strong.
Speaker of the Belgian federal parliament Siegfried Bracke called the meeting “enlightening”.
Gusty Graas, speaker of the Benelux parliament, said the stronger the EU was, the stronger its member states could be, adding that this was the reason why a strong European institutional system was needed.