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.
The country’s ambassadors around the world should be proud of the Czech Republic and talk up its achievements. That was the message from Andrej Babiš to Czech diplomats currently gathered in Prague. The prime minister also emphasised the importance of the Visegrad Four and repeated his opposition to euro adoption in a broad-ranging speech.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) will attend a ceremony in the
Slovak town of Banská Bystrica on Thursday to mark the 75th anniversary of
the outbreak of anti-fascist military action that came to be known as the
Slovak National Uprising.
In its simplest telling, the uprising was the culmination of years of planning by Slovak partisans, 18,000 of whom fought alongside 60,000 Czechoslovak soldiers against the Nazi Germany and the puppet state of Slovakia led by the priest Jozef Tiso.
Under communism, the role played by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, the Allies, and non-communist partisans was discounted, and the uprising glorified as a unified action by the Slovak people against fascism in favour of socialism.
Poland has acknowledged it was wrong to proceed with changes to the
Bogatyne city plan, which opened the way for the expansion of the Turów
brown coal mine in the close proximity to the Czech border, the Czech
Environment Ministry said on Thursday.
The unilateral move raised protests from both the Czech Environment Ministry and the Liberec region. According to them, the Polish side did not wait for the conclusion of bilateral consultations on changes to the land-use plan and failed to take the Czech Republic’s reservations into account. The Czech Republic called for an extraordinary meeting on the issue last week.
Despite unfinished negotiations with the Czech Republic, Bogatyne earlier approved a change to the zoning plan, which, among other things, allowed the extension of the mine by 14.6 hectares towards the border with the Czech Republic.
The Czech side had requested information on the impact of the change on water resources, agricultural land and other habitats, as well as air and noise pollution on the Czech side of the border.
The Polish Directorate-General for Environmental Protection should deliver the information before Wednesday, August 28, when the Czech and Polish governments are to hold a joint session in Warsaw.
After failing to reach a decision during over 18 hours of talks on Sunday and Monday, EU leaders are reconvening in Brussels to try to agree who should lead the bloc’s institutions for the coming five years. Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans, a frontrunner for European Commission president, faces strong opposition from the Czech Republic and fellow Visegrad Four states.
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