The meeting of the Committees on European Affairs, the opening event of the Parliamentary Dimension of the Hungarian V4 presidency was held in Sárospatak between 24-26 September 2017.
The meeting was hosted by Richárd Hörcsik Dr., Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs of the National Assembly. The purpose of the meeting was to get to know each other’s positions in two key issues affecting the future of the European Union; i.e. the strengthening of the role of national Parliaments in EU matters, and the expected impact of Brexit on the operation of the European Union. At the meeting participants also discussed how the employment and social rights of citizens and payments into the current, seven-year EU budget could be guaranteed in the wake of the UK’s exit. This topic was presented by Balázs Molnár, Deputy State Secretary for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office. Talking about the meeting’s agenda, Richárd Hörcsik stated that finding answers to such issues of European dimension was the joint responsibility of member states and national Parliaments.
Participants to the meeting were greeted by László Kövér, Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, who delivered a welcome speech. The Speaker proposed that V4 countries establish a so-called Rapid Reaction Team, which would promptly discuss proposals that affect their citizens most directly. He pointed out that although in principle EU decisions also had Parliamentary legitimacy, constituents often and rightly felt that something was lacking. László Kövér also presented key events of the Parliamentary co-operation aspect of Hungary’s one-year V4 Presidency, which started on 1 July. He explained that the motto of the Hungarian presidency ‘V4 Connects’ refers to the multitude of political, economic and cultural ties connecting the four countries, and key issues proposed to be reviewed and discussed during the one-year period require even closer co-operation and on-going co-ordination between V4 countries, as well as the representation of joint positions. He considered it important that V4 co-operation, as a brand, should be reflected through positive and specific proposals in various policies. He also added that a key objective of the four countries was to improve the region’s energy and transport links, and bring V4 countries in line with the requirements of the digital age. The Speaker expressed the necessity to continue effective regional co-operation, and to strengthen the stabilising role of the Visegrád Group outside Europe as well.
The meeting was concluded by accepting a closing statement. Following this, the Chairpersons of the Committees informed representatives of the Press about the key statements and conclusions formulated at the meeting.