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Meeting of the European Affairs Committees of the Visegrád Countries

Ľuboš Blaha, Chair of the Committee on European Affairs of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, hosted the European affairs committees of the V4 for a meeting in Bratislava on 21-23 May 2017. Chair Richárd Hörcsik, Vice Chairs Zoltán Tessely and Tibor Bana, along with senior advisor László Juhász, represented the European Affairs Committee of the Parliament.

The agenda of the meeting included three topics: the dual quality of foodstuffs, the future of the European Union and a discussion of the agenda items of the upcoming, 57th (LVII) COSAC (Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs) meeting.

 Discussions of the dual quality of foodstuffs in EU member states revealed that the problem affects not just the countries of the V4, but the entire region.  Each member state is investigating the issue.  Meeting participants agreed that no distinctions in terms of markings and no differentiation is acceptable within the European Union. They emphasised that problems stemming from the dual quality of foodstuffs affect some 100 million EU citizens, and the problem must therefore be addressed on an EU level, possibly by developing new EU regulations.

In discussions of the future of the European Union, meeting participants took stock of the global and internal challenges that member states of the EU are forced to face today. They dealt, as a priority, with regional conflicts, the economic-financial and the resulting social crisis, the mounting pressure posed by migration, and the process of disintegration initiated by Brexit. Participants therefore agreed to call for the strengthening of V4 cooperation and a united stance as far as fundamental issues are concerned.

 

 For the agenda of the upcoming, 57th (LVII) COSAC meeting, they proposed discussions of north-south infrastructural links and the situation of cohesion policies post 2020.

 

Participants concluded the meeting by adopting a closing declaration.


Meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committees of V4 Country Parliaments

Chair Zsolt Németh, Vice Chair Zsolt Csenger-Zalán and Árpád Velez represented the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian Parliament at the meeting held in Warsaw on 27-28 February 2017.

The agenda of the meeting featured discussions of the impacts of the European Union, the United States and Russia, as well as the presidency of Donald Trump, on Eastern policy; European security challenges; and questions related to the southern neighbourhood, migration, terrorism, the conflict in Syria and relations with Turkey.

Agreeing, meeting participants emphasised the need for the renewal of the EU and for the Central European region to take a united stance. They noted the crisis of European integration affecting economic, social and political questions. In this context, participants raised the idea of increasing defence spending and a common intent to prevent the evolution of a two-speed Europe.

Regarding the issue of migration, Zsolt Németh – alluding to the motto of the Hungarian V4 presidency, “Visegrád Connects” – spoke positively of the united and consensual actions of the V4. He expressed his hope that member nations will be able to represent their positions in a similarly united fashion as far as the quota issue is concerned. Meeting participants agreed that Germany is no longer able to cope with the question of migration alone, and therefore called it necessary for the V4 to take coordinated action, urging cooperation to prevent the establishment of newer paths for migration.

 


Meeting of the European Affairs Committees of the Visegrád Countries

The European affairs committees of the V4 countries met in the Czech town of Velehrad on 2-4 October 2016 at the invitation of Ondřej Benešík, Chair of the European Affairs Committee in the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic. The European Affairs Committee of the Parliament was represented at the event by Chair Richárd Hörcsik, Vice Chair Tibor Bana and senior advisor László Juhász.  Member of the European Parliament Martina Dlabajová (ALDE, Czech Republic) also participated.

The agenda of the meeting included discussions of the possible impact of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom on the Visegrád countries, migration targeting the European Union as well as a package of proposals related to the review of the Common European Asylum System.

 Regarding the first item, the parties agreed that the awareness of European citizens must be raised as far as the main achievements of European integration are concerned, and that following Brexit, the rights of EU citizens working in the United Kingdom must be protected. In connection with the Brexit negotiations, the parties emphasised the importance of the V4 taking a united stance and broadening the role that the national parliaments of the member states play in EU decision making.

In the second half of the meeting, dealing with migration, the parties spoke appreciatively of the close and efficient cooperation forged between V4 ministries of interior. They reaffirmed their united position related to the migration crisis and the importance of a consistent position in defence of the Schengen borders.

Participants concluded the meeting by adopting a closing declaration.