Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický welcomed his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijarto in Prague on Thursday for talks focusing on European issues, the Visegrad Group and bilateral cooperation. It was their first meeting since minister Stropnický took up his post in the new government.
One of the main messages to come out of the talks was the two sides’ strong commitment to regional cooperation within the Visegrad Group. Minister Stropnický said it was important that the regional grouping show initiative and present its own solutions to EU problems.
“That’s definitely something we must do together –to give proposals with regard to the problems discussed and there are so many problems now in the EU. You know, I do not like some of the labels that are being used with regard to us –like Eastern members, ex-satellites and so on. We are sovereign, we are democratic, our economy is doing well, so I think we have every right to have our say and voice our opinion – to express it in a decent way, decent, but strong, explicit and clear – and to try to reach a consensus.”
Foreign Minister Szijarto, whose country currently presides over the Visegrad Group, made up of the Czech Republic Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, thanked the Czech Republic for its support on migration. He said the divisive issues in the EU heightened the significance of regional cooperation.
“I can tell you that Visegrad cooperation definitely became a brand and the Visegrad Group is the most effective and the tightest alliance within the European Union. The cooperation within the group is tighter and more effective than ever - I can say that without exaggeration. It is cooperation based on common sense and rationality which is of the utmost importance now. Because during these challenging times for Europe debates in the EU have tended to easily swing to emotions, and emotional and stigmatizing debates will never bring you a solution. That is why it is so important that the Visegrad group represents common sense and rationality. It gives hope that we will be able to overcome the challenges ahead of us.”
The two foreign ministers also devoted time to bilateral cooperation and potential for further development. Foreign Minister Szijarto had high praise for the Czech Republic’s economic successes.
“We always admired the Czech economy and we always set targets to reach the standards of the Czech economy when it comes to growth and the low level of unemployment. I can proudly say that we are closer and closer. We wish the Czech economy all the best because the success of one of the four countries always gives a positive impetus to the other three, so although there is competition among us, because we are similar types of economies, at the same time we strengthen each other.”