Organised by the Hungarian National Assembly under the Hungarian V4 Presidency, a videoconference of the Committees on Economics of the national Parliaments of the Visegrad Countries was held on 10 December 2021. The event was hosted by Erik Bánki, Chair of the Committee on Economics of the Hungarian National Assembly, with participants including Vice-Chair dr. Tamás Mellár and Committee Member Gábor Varga.
At the videoconference, the Polish Sejm was represented by Marek Suski, Chair of the Committee on Energy, Climate and State Assets, and Krzysztof Tchórzewski, Chair of the Committee on Economy and Development, and the Polish Senate by Maria Koc, Chair of the National Economy and Innovativeness Committee, and Mariusz Gromko, a Member of the Committee. The meeting was also attended by Hana Žáková, Chair of the Sub-Committee on Energy and Transport of the Committee on National Economy, Agriculture and Transport of the Czech Senate, and Peter Kremský, Chair of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Slovak National Council. The topics for discussion during the conference included “hydrogen-based economy, energy security and reduction and sustaining of low energy costs” and “the tax system and the reduction of contributions on wages in light of competitiveness”.
The keynote presentation for the first topic was made by Attila Steiner, State Secretary for the Development of Circular Economy, Energy and Climate Policy of the Hungarian Ministry for Innovation and Technology. In his speech, Mr Steiner highlighted that both Hungary and the V4 are committed to meeting decarbonisation targets but at the same time, the issues of energy security and energy prices take absolute priority. He reported on Hungary’s hydrogen strategy, stressing the importance of V4 cooperation in the areas of research and development, education, the establishment of an EU legal framework as well as the initiation of specific projects.
The discussion on the second topic started with a keynote video message from Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó. In his speech, the Minister praised the significance, strength and competitiveness of the Visegrad Group, emphasising the importance of cooperation. He pointed out that decisions concerning national tax systems should remain a matter of national competence. Moreover, Mr Szijjártó stressed that, in addition to environmental protection, it is also important to be reasonable, as the use of gas and nuclear energy is a part of everyday reality in Central Europe.
Erik Bánki considered it an important achievement that the Economic Committees of V4 Parliaments now hold discussions on a regular basis. On the second topic, he reported on the results of the Hungarian economy, the family benefit scheme and the steps taken to tackle the shadow economy. In closing, he welcomed the consensus reached on many topics and pointed out the importance of supporting research and development.
At the end of the online meeting, V4 representatives adopted a joint statement.