V4, Austrian premiers discuss energy, EU funding and migration in Prague

16-01-2020 updated

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his Visegrad Four counterparts met in Prague on Thursday to discuss energy and climate change with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

The V4 summit attended by the Austrian chancellor focussed on energy and EU climate change policy, areas where the positions of Austria and the V4 (which includes Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) differ significantly.

Unlike Austria, the V4 countries say achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is not possible without building more nuclear power plants.Austria does not like the idea that EU money paid to help phase-out coal mining and boost alternate energy sources should be used for nuclear power.

PM Babiš argues that in the interests of “energy security” and ecomomic growth, the Czech Republic must build new nuclear units even if it contravenes European Union law.

The talks also covered EU funding and migration where the heads of government found more common ground.They agreed on the need to fight illegal migration,rejected the idea of obligatory migrant quotas and stressed the importance of defending the EU's outer borders.

Since the talks were held on the anniversary of the death of student martyr Jan Palach, the prime ministers laid flowers at the Palach memorial at the top end of Wenceslas Square where Palach set himself on fire in protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion.