An informal meeting of the Parliamentary Presidents/Speakers of the Visegrad countries took place between 15-16 July 2021 at Károlyi Castle in Fehérvárcsurgó, as the first parliamentary event of the Visegrad Group’s (V4) Hungarian Presidency. At the invitation of László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, the event was attended by Radek Vondráček, President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, Miloš Vystrčil, President of the Senate of the Czech Republic, Elżbieta Witek, Marshal of the Sejm of the Polish Republic, Tomasz Grodzki, Marshal of the Senate of the Polish Republic and Boris Kollár, Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic. At the meeting, the Presidents/Speakers discussed two topics: first the protection of cultural heritage, followed by a dialogue on Central European identity.
In his introductory speech delivered at the meeting, László Kövér thanked and praised the Polish V4 Presidency for its work. He presented the main Government objectives of the Hungarian V4 Presidency and briefed his partners on the parliamentary events planned by the National Assembly for the next year.
The importance of the topic of protecting cultural heritage was emphasised by all participants, and it was agreed that intellectual culture is also part of cultural heritage. László Kövér pointed out the need for more ambitious and complex programmes and proposed, among other things, the organisation of joint camps for young people from the Visegrad countries and the possibility to learn Central European languages as a second foreign language. Boris Kollár highlighted the role of education and digitalisation in the protection of cultural heritage, while Miloš Vystrčil pointed out that in addition to the protection of cultural heritage, its management is also important. Radek Vondráček expressed his view that human relations and neighbourhoods are also part of cultural heritage. Tomasz Grodzki called for joint action against the theft of cultural assets. Concerning the organisation of joint camps for young people, Elżbieta Witek said that such joint activities contribute to a better understanding of each other's cultures.
On the subject of Central European identity, László Kövér talked about the defensive characteristic of the nations and countries of Central Europe and its origins, as opposed to a conquering attitude. Boris Kollár praised the importance of co-operation between the Visegrad countries, Radek Vondráček emphasised connections between Central European identity and the protection of cultural heritage, and Miloš Vystrčil said that he believed that Austria, Slovenia and Serbia also belong to the framework of the Central European identity. Elżbieta Witek stressed that despite the differences, there are many links between the Visegrad countries, while Tomasz Grodzki pointed to the need to strengthen the sense of being part of a community.
The next interparliamentary event of the Hungarian V4 Presidency will take place on 23-24 September 2021, when the official meeting of the Parliamentary Presidents/Speakers of the V4 countries and the 10th Meeting of Speakers of Parliaments of Southeast European Countries will be organised by the Hungarian National Assembly.