The foreign ministers of the Visegrad Four, comprising the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, are due to meet with their Egyptian
counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Prague next week. Among the topics on their
agenda will be the security situation in the Middle East and north Africa
and its impact on the European Union.
Mr Shoukry, who will be in the Czech Republic from Wednesday to Friday, will also hold bilateral talks with his Czech counterpart, Tomáš Petříček. Egypt is one of the Czech Republic’s most significant trading partners in the Middle East. In 2018 the volume of mutual trade reached over 345 million US dollars.
The European Commission headed by Usula von der Leyen wants to change its
policy towards the Visegrad Four countries, comprising the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, the German daily Die Welt wrote on Thursday.
Mrs von der Leyen said that while she wants to be uncompromising in questions concerning the rule of law, she also wants to lead a structured dialogue based on mutual respect aimed at diffusing tensions within the European Union.
According to die Welt, the European Commission is unlikely to propose the mandatory migrant-sharing quotas, which have deeply divided the Visegrad Four countries and the other EU member states.
That, it says, could make the Visagrad Four countries more willing to make compromises concerning future EU budget or climate policy.
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.
Prague City Hall councillors have agreed is conclude a Free Cities Pact
with the other Visegrad Four group capitals aimed at strengthening
The mayors of Prague, Budapest, Bratislava and Warsaw agreed to create the pact on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Free Cities Pact calls on signatories to work together to tackle problems such as climate change, housing and social policy, and to promote democratic ideals, human rights, and the rule of law.
Representatives of the V4 capitals are due to sign the pact on December 16 in Hungary. Prague also wants to sign a sister city pact with Vienna, concerning mainly transport, housing and ecological issues.
The integration of Western Balkan countries into the European Union is in
the economic and security interest of the EU, Hungarian Foreign Minister
Peter Szijjarto told journalists in Prague after talks with his Czech,
Polish and Slovak counterparts on Monday. Szijjarto said the accession
talks with these countries had seen little progress in the last six months,
which he considered to be one of the biggest mistakes of the European
Commission of Jean-Claude Juncker.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, who hosted the Visegrad meeting of foreign ministers, likewise expressed support for faster negotiations with the Balkan states. Petříček said he hoped that accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia would be launched next year.
Leaders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary have expressed
their support for the integration of the West Balkan countries into the
The heads of state, who attended a two-day V4 meeting at the Czech president’s residence in Lány near Prague, have also called for maintaining the same amount of funds allocated for cohesion policy in the EU’s long term budget.
The heads of state of Serbia and Slovenia joined the meeting on Thursday to discuss the prospect of EU enlargement.
The gathering took place within the Czech Republic’s current presidency of the Visegrad Four.
The heads of state of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary have
gathered at the Czech president’s residence at Lány near Prague. The
Visegrad Four leaders are due to discuss cooperation within the European
Union following the UK’s departure at the summit, which will run until
Thursday, when the four will be joined by the presidents of Slovenia and
The gathering is taking place within the Czech Republic’s current presidency of the Visegrad Four.
At a summit of the Visegrad Group states in Prague, the prime ministers of
the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary praised the outcome of
negotiations on the set-up of the new European Commission, saying the V4
had been given important portfolios and would have a strong voice in the
The Prague summit was also attended by representatives from Western Balkan states, the aim of the joint meeting being to strengthen cooperation between the two regions. The Visegrad group states approved a joint declaration stating support for the EU’s expansion to the Balkans.
Kosovo cancelled participation at the summit in reaction to President Miloš Zeman’s statement in Belgrade that he would try to persuade Czech top officials to retract the country’s recognition of an independent Kosovo.
Prime Minister Babiš said at a press briefing after the talks that he saw no reason to change the Czech Republic’s position on Kosovo, although he was open to debating the matter with the president.
The Czech Republic is hosting a summit on Thursday of prime ministers from fellow Visegrad Four countries and their Western Balkan counterparts. Representatives of Kosovo, however, will be conspicuously absent at today’s summit, in the wake of a slew of insults by the Czech head of state this week, who suggested revoking recognition of Kosovo as an independent nation.
Kosovo has cancelled its planned participation in Thursday’s Visegrad
Four and Western Balkans summit in Prague, according to the Czech News
Agency which quotes diplomatic sources. The move was made in reaction to
President Miloš Zeman’s words earlier on Wednesday, where he said that
he wants to discuss the possibility of renouncing the Czech recognition of
an independent Kosovo at his next meeting with Czech top officials. Czech
News Agency sources say that there are currently no confirmed guests from
Kosovo for the Thursday meeting of prime ministers. However, discussions
are still ongoing about whether the country will be represented on some
level at least.
The Czech Republic has maintained diplomatic relations with Kosovo since 2008.