On 17-18 February 2022, a meeting in person of the Committees on Foreign Affairs of the national Parliaments of Visegrád (V4) countries and France was held in Budapest, organised by the Hungarian National Assembly under the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrád Group (V4). The meeting discussed the EU's foreign and security policy relations within and outside the European continent, as well as the most pressing foreign and security policy challenges. The event was hosted by Zsolt Németh, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Hungarian National Assembly, and was also attended by Mihály Balla and Zsolt Csenger-Zalán, Deputy Chairmen of the Committee.
The meeting was attended by Pavel Fischer, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security of the Czech Senate, while on behalf of the Polish Sejm Marek Kuchciński, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Arkadiusz Mularczyk, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Władysław Teofil Bartoszewski, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The Slovak National Council was represented by Marián Kéry, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Peter Osuský, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Martin Čepček, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Christian Cambon, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces of the French Senate and Jean-Louis Bourlanges, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the French National Assembly also attended the meeting under the V4+ initiative.
Participants discussed numerous issues related to the EU's foreign and security policy, including the current security situation in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. Other topics discussed included Turkey, strategic autonomy, transatlantic relations, as well as EU-Africa and EU-China relations.
At the event, Dr. Péter Sztáray, State Secretary for Security Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, presented the Hungarian Government's position on the situation in Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and also touched upon topics such as the development of European defence capabilities, energy security and the EU's enlargement policy, including the integration perspective of the Western Balkans. The presenter of second session, Dr. István Balogh, Deputy State Secretary for Security Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, delivered a detailed presentation of the Hungarian position on the implementation of EU strategic autonomy and transatlantic relations, along with an insight into the relations of Africa and China with the EU and Hungary.
In his addresses, Zsolt Németh stressed that the Visegrád Group co-operates in areas that there is agreement about, and it is also a welcome fact that there is common ground with France on a number of issues. He pointed out that while NATO is the primary guarantor of Europe's security, the European Union also needs stronger and deeper security and defence co-operation in order to address emerging conflicts and challenges. Regarding the situation in Eastern Europe, he stressed the importance of advocating a policy of deterrence within NATO, but added that, in addition to deterrence, it is also important to maintain a dialogue. He described Turkey as a key partner for European security, adding that growing tension in the Western Balkans poses a major security risk, and therefore it is in the EU's essential interest to stabilise the region in its immediate neighbourhood, and retain a European perspective. Among the current security challenges, he also mentioned the withdrawal of the Takuba mission from Mali, which has played a key role in the Sahel zone for the region’s stability. Finally, he expressed his hope that it would be possible to hold future parliamentary meetings in the same format.
At the end of the meeting, Zsolt Németh issued a Statement of the Chair Representing the Hungarian V4 Presidency.