The ambassadors in France of the four Visegrad Group countries - Georges de Habsbourg-Lorraine (Hungary), Michal Fleischmann (Czech Republic), Igor Slobodnik (Slovakia) and Tomasz Mlynarski (Poland) - published a joint text in the French newspaper L'Opinion on May 7, in which they lean on the V4's relationship with Europe, called "a common home." "The Visegrad Group should not be seen only by its existence within the EU. It also exists outside of it [...] This cooperation gave rise to a platform for political dialogue, which culminated in the accession of its members to the EU, NATO and the OECD. [...] The Visegrad Group currently remains a catalyst for cooperation throughout Central Europe. [...] Thirty years after the fall of communism, the economic and political success and great social progress of our four countries is a fact [...] Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary demonstrate the success of European integration. [...]. It becomes even more important than before to defend together the heritage of European integration. [...] We are convinced that Europe is our common home, and its future depends on our coordinated action in the spirit of European solidarity.
In Poland, there are concrete signs of the good condition of our economy. According to the estimates of the National Chamber of Commerce, Polish exports amounted to over 24 billion euros in March (+ 12.9% compared to February and + 25.8% compared to March 2020). As Polish exports to Germany increased by 15% and to the United States decreased by 11%, Poland is now the third largest exporter to Germany, just behind China and the Netherlands and ahead of the United States.
Another important piece of news is that the Polish-Norwegian-Danish Baltic Pipe pipeline project - connecting the Norwegian sector of the North Sea to Poland via Denmark - entered the construction phase in April, and starting this summer, specialized vessels will begin laying 274 kilometers of pipeline across the Baltic Sea bed between Poland and Denmark. The aim of this pipeline is to increase Poland's independence from Russian gas.
Slovakia / Czech Republic
Against the backdrop of rising tensions between Russia and Central European countries, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kouleba announced on May 12 at a joint press conference with his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korčok in Bratislava that Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová will attend the inaugural summit of the "Crimean Peninsula Disengagement Platform" to be held in Kiev on August 23. "Slovakia is one of the first countries in Europe and the world to show solidarity with Ukraine as Russia has intensified its border presence in recent weeks. We really appreciate it, " he added. Meanwhile, the Russian Federation has decided to put the Czech Republic on the list of "countries hostile to Russia".
The chairman of the Hungarian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Zsolt Nemeth, asserted on May 12 that the Trilateral Initiative is "in line with Hungarian regional policy, as long-term stability in Central Europe can only be achieved through economic prosperity." Nemeth stressed that the cooperation within the Trilateral framework complements the Visegrad cooperation well. He pointed out that the initiative aims to promote the economic prosperity of Central Europe through the development of economic, transport and digital infrastructure.
Following a conversation with his Czech counterpart Jakub Kulhanek, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced May 11 at a joint press conference in Budapest that Hungary and the Czech Republic are close to finalizing an agreement to "lift all travel restrictions between the two countries for citizens vaccinated against COVID-19."