That was one of the principal themes at the conclusion of today’s meeting of the prime ministers of the Visegrád countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) and the Austrian chancellor in Prague.
“Austria has remained an important investor, market and trading partner for Central Europe,” Prime Minister Orbán said at the conclusion of the summit, adding that “Austria will continue to be an important security partner for us, as we share concerns about migration.”
When migrants cross illegally into Hungary, they often pass through to Austria or move on to Germany, so “it is in Austria's interest that the Hungarian border defense succeeds,” the PM said.
According to Orbán, the most important outcome of today's meeting was the identification of areas of cooperation, namely migration, security, border protection, competitiveness, climate protection and enlargement. At the same time, he noted areas like nuclear energy where differences remain.
The V4 prime ministers congratulated Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on setting up his second government and getting to know firsthand his plans for the new term in office.
“The meeting was also important because European issues were on the agenda, as were all the important foreign policy issues, enlargement and the [EU] budget,” PM Orbán said, emphasizing that “this meeting was particularly important for the V4, as it signaled to the outside world that they did not want to be isolated but were seeking cooperation with other European countries.”
The prime minister also suggested to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis – the Czech government currently holds the V4 presidency – that, if the Conference on the Future of Europe is to take place, Western Balkan countries wishing to join the EU should also be invited because the issues surrounding the future of Europe also concern them.
When asked about the issue of not reducing cohesion funds for climate protection, the Prime Minister said that the V4 countries would agree on this issue, but they would see what would happen in the negotiations. “If we want more Europe, we need more money, but not at the expense of old programs,” he said.
Photo credit: MTI