Government leaders from the four Visegrad countries agreed in Prague on Friday that they are prepared to provide experts and equipment to help bolster the Schengen zone’s outer borders and combat human traffickers and support the fight against Islamic State during the current immigrant crisis. The meeting was called in Prague by the current country heading the regional grouping, the Czech Republic. Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka warned during the closing press conference that the wave of immigrants would continue as long as the current conflicts in Libya and Syria are unresolved. Development help for those countries would be offered and the stepped up involvement of the United Nations would be sought, he added. Polish premier Ewa Kopacz stressed that it was for individual countries make their own decisions during the ongoing crisis. The four Central European counties, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland, are under fire from other EU states for refusing to accept EU-set quotas of immigrants in their countries.
Prime ministers of the Visegrad four countries are attending an extraordinary meeting in Prague on Friday. The government heads of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary will try to coordinate their position on the escalating migrant crisis. On top of the agenda will be the current situation in Hungary, where thousands of refugees are stranded at Budapest train station. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said prior to the meeting that he will call on his counterparts to support the establishment of more detention centres along the outer border of the Schengen area and he will push for a stricter intervention against people smugglers.
With the swelling number of migrants surging through Eastern Europe, calls have intensified in the Czech Republic for better EU coordination in coping with the escalating migrant crisis. On Friday Prague will host a meeting of the Višegrad Group states which should coordinate the position of the four countries on the migrant problem.
The prime ministers of the Višegrad Group countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet in the coming days to discuss the migration crisis in Europe, the ctk news agency reports. The Višegrad Four are increasingly concerned about the flow of migrants via the so-called west Balkans route. The Czech Republic has repeatedly called for joint EU action in protecting its outer borders and has offered countries along the Balkans route technical and material assistance to better secure their borders. Slovakia now fears that due to tightened checks along the Austrian border people smugglers will attempt to transport more refugees across Slovak territory.
Prague on Wednesday took up the year-long presidency of the Visegrad 4, comprising the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. At a press conference, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek outlined plans for two summits as well as increased cooperation in energy, security and defence. But some were surprised a more explicit reference wasn’t made to one of the top problems facing the European Union today: the migration crisis.
The Czech Republic on Wednesday takes over the year-long presidency of the Visegrad Four group, which also includes Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. Among Prague’s main priorities will be to boost the internal cohesion of the regional grouping, foster increased co-operation in energy, security and defence, and help develop the four states’ digital economies. The Czech Republic will host two Visesgrad summits during its presidency while next February the quartet’s foreign ministers will mark the 25th anniversary of the existence of the regional bloc.
The Višegrad Four countries, i.e. the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, are opposed to the idea of mandatory migrant resettlement quotas proposed by the EC, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Thursday. The Czech head of government and representatives of the other Višegrad group states met on the sidelines of the Brussels summit of EU and the Latin American and Caribbean states (CELAC) in order to coordinate their positions on the migration problem ahead of the end-June meeting of the European Council. They are to discuss the issue again at a meeting of the Višegrad group prime ministers in Bratislava, Slovakia on June 19.
The foreign ministers from the Visegrad 4 countries (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland) met on Friday in Slovakia to discuss and express support for closer cooperation between the EU and six post-Soviet countries under the Eastern Partnership project. At the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit, the V4 are set to discuss the liberalisation of visa policy. At Friday’s meeting, the foreign ministers expressed support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, in the face of the annexation last year of Crimea by Russia. Ukraine has been participating in the Eastern Partnership, along with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova. Friday’s meeting was also attended by High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkevics, Foreign Minister of Romania Bogdan Aurescu and Foreign Minister of Sweden Margot Wallstrom.
Countries of the Visegrad Four, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, need closer cooperation in protecting their common airspace, the countries’ defence ministers agreed on Thursday at a meeting in Tomášov, near Bratislava. The prime ministers of the V4 countries are set to meet in June discuss the Common Sky project. The Slovak Defence Minister Martin Glvac said Slovakia and the Czech Republic have already agreed on the protection of their common airspace. According to Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický, cooperation in air defence is crucial. The ministers also discussed a joint military force that should be operational by 2016.
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