The Visegrad Group (V4) cooperation consisting of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia is stronger and more effective than ever before, Hungary’s foreign minister told public radio on Sunday.
The V4 “have a much more powerful and far-reaching voice” together than they would on their own, Péter Szijjártó told Kossuth Radio.
When it comes to the European Union‘s decision-making process, the collective will of the four countries is now a factor that even western European countries must take notice of, he insisted. The timing of the alliance’s new-found strength is also right, Szijjártó said, arguing that the EU is facing historic challenges. The responses Europe gives to these challenges will fundamentally shape the future of Hungary and central Europe as a whole, the minister added.
Szijjártó also said that a number of central European countries have expressed interest in joining the alliance or partnering with it. However, the V4 have decided that they would not expand the alliance, as having more countries could dampen the group’s effectiveness, he said.
Szijjártó added, at the same time, that the group would maintain its V4 plus scheme aimed at establishing strong cooperation with other countries under Hungary’s presidency, too. As part of the scheme, V4 leaders recently held talks with Egypt’s president and the group will hold talks with Israel later this month, he said. On Monday, the foreign ministers of Croatia, Slovenia and Austria will attend a meeting of V4 foreign ministers, Szijjártó added.
Commenting on US President Donald Trump’s speech in Warsaw earlier this week, Szijjártó called the speech a “historically significant” event, arguing that Trump had made it clear that central Europe is indeed an important factor in the US’s foreign policy. Furthermore, the president “gave a value-based speech the like of which we have not heard in a long time from the leader of a major country — certainly not an American leader — in Europe”, he said, noting that Trump had spoken about values such as family and faith.
“It’s no accident that we are glad that Donald Trump won the US presidential election, because it is clear that the foreign policy he represents is much better for the world than the policy represented by the previous, Democratic administration,” he said. Szijjártó said Trump’s foreign policy based on respecting all countries’ national characteristics could help ease conflicts around the world.
On the subject of migration, Szijjártó said Hungary would never accept mandatory migrant quotas, stressing that illegal migrants would not be allowed to set foot in Hungary. The other V4 countries share this stance and more and more European countries are noticing that the EU has so far pursued an “erroneous” migration policy, Szijjártó insisted.