Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will visit the Czech Republic on
Friday, November 16th for talks with his Czech counterpart, Tomáš
Petříček, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Transport Minister Dan Ťok,
the ctk news agency reported.
The Czech Republic and Hungary cooperate closely within the Visegrad Group states. They have a similar stand on the migrant crisis, both reject mandatory migrant quotas and both are unwilling to sign the UN’s Global Compact for Migration, citing ambiguities in its interpretation.
The Czech Republic and Poland see no reason why V4 countries should take a
coordinated stand towards the United Nations migration pact, Czech Foreign
Minister Tomáš Petříček and his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz
said after a meeting in Warsaw on Thursday.
The Czech Republic and Poland want to join Hungary in withdrawing from the non-binding Global Compact on Migration, which was approved by 191 UN member states in July. Slovakia has not rejected the agreement so far.
Mr. Petříček has also said he wants to cooperate with like-minded countries in finding solutions for migration.
Czech Prime Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš travelled to Warsaw
on Monday to visit the headquarters of the European Border and Coast Guard
Agency, Frontex, which he says should focus mainly on returning migrants to
the country of origin or to the transit states.
Babiš has recently criticized the European Commission’s plans to increase funding for Frontex, arguing that it amounts to duplicating European security structures and boosting an agency that has not proven very effective.
In Warsaw he also met his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki. Among the topics on their agenda was the upcoming EU summit in Brussels and migration. They also agreed on the need to help source countries of migration improve conditions at home.
The presidents of Slovakia and Poland have defended the EU sanctions
against Russia as justified.
Speaking at a press briefing following a Visegrad Group summit of heads of state, Slovak President Andrej Kiska said the EU could not remain indifferent to the 2014 annexation of Crimea which was a blatant violation of international law and said he welcomed the fact that EU members had acted in unity in enforcing sanctions. Polish President Andrzej Duda also said the sanctions were fully justified.
Czech President Zeman, who is one of the most vocal opponents of the sanctions and who has repeatedly called for them to be lifted, made no comment, saying sanctions had not been on the agenda of the meeting. Hungarian President Janos Ader likewise refrained from commenting on the issue.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has criticized the EU for trying to interfere
in the internal affairs of the Visegrad Group states.
Speaking at the close of a two-day summit of the presidents of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in the High Tatras on Friday, President Zeman said this alienated the countries in question and led to new divides in Europe.
Slovak President Andrej Kiska, who hosted the summit of V4 presidents, said individual EU member states should listen to each other more and work towards mutual understanding, since each of them has its history, its problems and in many respects, also a different view of the EU.
He stressed that in the face of differences, the Visegrad Group heads of state should be more vocal in stating their allegiance to the EU and all members should work to prevent a new division of Europe into East and West.
Presidents of the Visegrad group states – the Czech Republic, Hungary,
Poland and Slovakia are holding a summit in the High Tatras in Slovakia.
Among the topics on the two-day V 4 summit will be the future of the EU, the European social agenda, ageing of the population and issues concerning the Roma minority.
Acting Czech Foreign Minister and Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček has
defended the right of Czech MEPs to vote in line with their conscience in
the European Parliament vote on whether to launch a procedure against
Hungary on Wednesday.
Hamáček said that he too was concerned by some of the steps taken by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, such as those against the judiciary and the free press.
He said that unlike the Czech prime minister he would not take up the issue with those MEPs who had voted in favour of launching a procedure against Hungary since he understood their line of reasoning.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (Ano) said Thursday that the European
Parliament was wrong to try to sanction Hungary and his government
“stands behind” Viktor Orban, whom he called an “ally”.
Mr Babiš also said he would take up the issue with Ano party members who voted in favour of launching the so-called Article 7 process against Hungary.
It total 448 MEPs, including 21 Czechs, voted in favour of triggering the sanctions procedure over Orban’s challenge to EU rules and values on media freedom, migration and rule of law dating back several years. Four MEPs elected on the Ano ticket voted for the sanctions – Pavel Telička and Petr Ježek, who are no longer in the party; and Dita Chrazanová and Martina Dlabajová.
Mr Babiš told journalists the move only served to divide Europe and that MEPs should be focusing on issues such as Brexit.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, and his Hungarian counterpart,
Viktor Orban, say they want to hold a Visegrad Four meeting prior to an
informal European Union summit in Salzburg in mid-September. The two
politicians made the comment after bilateral talks in Budapest on Friday
evening that focused on economic cooperation, migration and the EU budget.
Mr. Babiš said that the last time Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak leaders had held a V4 meeting was back in June. He also told reporters that Mr. Orban had accepted an invitation to Prague and would visit the city at the end of October.
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