L97A9252  Meeting of the European Affairs Committees of the V4 countries in Bratislava on 16-18 June 2019

The meeting of the Committees on European Affairs of the V4 national parliaments – held regularly at semi-annual intervals – was organised in the first half of this year in Bratislava, on June 16-18, 2019 (Slovakia is the country holding the V4 presidency right now, but the meetings of the Committees on European Affairs are organised by a different V4 parliamentary chamber every six months. The next meeting will be held in Hungary in the autumn, during the forthcoming Czech presidency.)

The agenda of the meeting – organised by the European Affairs Committee of the Slovak National Council – included the enlargement of the EU, the future of the EU in view of the results of the European Parliamentary elections, and an exchange of views about the plenary session of the European Affairs Committees of member state parliaments (COSAC LXI) to be held in Bucharest on June 23-25. The event was also attended by the relevant committee of the Parliament of Serbia as an invited guest. The Hungarian National Assembly was represented by Dr. Richárd Hörcsik, Chair of the European Affairs Committee.

The topic titled „The enlargement of the EU” was introduced by keynote speakers Nenad Čanak, Chair of the European Integration Committee of the Serbian National Assembly, and Ján Čarnogurský , former Prime Minister of Slovakia. Nenad Čanak drew a parallel between the historical past of his country and that of the V4 countries, and emphasized that our historical wounds unite us, and that we must assist each other in making these wounds heal. Ján Čarnogurský highlighted in relation to Serbia that the country’s problem is the strategic alliance it has evolved with Russia. During the discussion of this agenda item,Richárd Hörcsik spoke appreciatively of the enlargement package issued by the European Commission at the end of May 2019. He pointed out that it is a key task for the V4 Group to convince Member States less in favour of the EU’s enlargement that the European integration of the West Balkans is a shared interest for the whole of Europe. Further, he expressed his hope that efforts to elect presidents for the European Commission and the European Council committed to the soonest possible enlargement of the EU to include the West Balkans will be successful.

Concerning the topic „The future of the EU”, the keynote presentation was held by Richard Raši, Deputy Prime Minister of Slovakia in charge of Investments. Richard Raši underlined the importance of a larger involvement of national parliaments in decision making processes, of the inter-parliamentary and transatlantic relations and the constructive dialogue among V4 countries. In his intervention to the topic the Chair of the Hungarian Committee said: it would be good if the presidency of either the European Parliament, the European Council or the European Commission went to a politician from a Central-Eastern European Member State. In relation to the EU’s working order in the forthcoming 5 years he highlighted the significance of the protection of the EU’s borders and Christian values as well as the upholding of the EU’s achievements made so far, and went on to emphasize the necessity to enforce the principle of subsidiarity.

At the end of the meeting, the Heads of the European Affairs Committee delegations of V4 parliaments signed a closing declaration.