Auto associations from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary, have met in Prague to compare their responses to crucial European proposals for further curbing emissions of key pollutants. The future emission limits are clearly aimed at paving the way for low emission and no emission vehicles, such as electric cars. And that represents a radical challenge to the sector across the region.
The newly-appointed Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini held talks with Czech top officials in Prague on Wednesday on what was his first foreign trip since taking office. Twenty-five years after splitting up, the two neighbor states are cooperating closely to defend their national interests and boost their position in the EU.
President Miloš Zeman is on a two-day visit to Slovakia, his first trip
abroad since getting re-elected for a second term in office.
The Czech president's talks with his Slovak counterpart Andrej Kiska focused on bilateral relations, the situation in Slovakia following the murder of a Slovak journalist just over a month ago and the nerve agent row with Russia.
He will later meet with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini. On his arrival to the one-time sister state the Czech president was greeted by the Czechoslovak national anthem.
Czech Minister of foreign affairs Martin Stropnický has suggested that the
Visegrad Four regional grouping should present its own solutions to
European Union problems. He added that they should not just take a common
stand against policies.
Stropnický was speaking after meeting with his Hungarian counterpart in
Prague, Péter Szijjartó, on Thursday.
It was their first meeting since Stropnický took up his new post in government. Both ministers stressed the importance of the regional grouping which embraces the two countries as well as Poland and Slovakia.
Szijjartó thanked the Czech Republic for its support on migration. Hungary has refused to take immigrants under the EU’s proposals to share out most of those who fled their countries and are now mostly in Italy and Greece.
Hungary, which is currently chairing the V4 group, has also taken a stand against United Nations plans on migrants which the international body hopes will form the basis for a global compact.
The Hungarian minister was later due to meet with the Czech minister for labour and social affairs, minister of defence, and also outgoing prime minister Andrej Babiš.
Less than half of Czechs aged under 35 have a positive view of the European
Union, according to research published by the Bratislava-based Globsec
institute. The survey found that young Czechs were more sceptical regarding
the EU than their peers in the other Visegrad Four countries, Slovakia,
Poland and Hungary.
Some 43.8 percent of Czech 18- to 24-year-old survey respondents said they regarded the EU as a good thing. Among those aged 25 to 34 the figure was 41.3 percent.
If there were a referendum on whether to remain in the EU, just under half of young Czechs would vote for staying. A quarter of those surveyed said they would opt for leaving.
President Miloš Zeman’s first foreign trip will be to neighbouring
Slovakia where he intends to spend two days in the Tatra mountains, his
Zeman spoke with his Slovak counterpart Andrej Kiska after his election victory was announced on Saturday. Traditionally newly elected Czech politicians and heads of state head for Slovakia on their first trips abroad.
Kiska’s campaign to win the Slovak presidency had been taken as a model by Zeman’s opponent in the elections, Jiří Drahoš, of how a newcomer could overcome an established political figure.
Outgoing Czech prime minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš has opposed the
idea of a regional development bank covering the Visegrad four countries,
Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Ahead of a meeting of the Central European grouping on Friday in Budapest, Babiš said the main task of the Czech government was to deal with Czech banks.
Hungary and Poland have been the main backers of a regional development bank on the grounds that European Union funds for such a purpose are likely to dry up in the future. The Budapest meeting was also scheduled to discuss migration policy ahead of an EU meeting in Brussels next month.
A meeting of the Visegrad Group in Budapest next week will focus on the
establishment of a Central European Development Bank, Hungarian Prime
Minister Viktor Orban told Hungarian public radio on Friday.
Mr. Orban praised China for its plans to invest in the region and stressed the need for Central European states not to be dependent on EU funds alone, but to look for sources outside the European Union. China’s financial conditions are better than those offered by the EU, Orban noted.
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