Statement of the President at the V4 conference
Excellencies, Honourable Presidents: Madam President, Presidents,
Ladies and Gentlemen!
We have just concluded the third and final session of our two-day meeting here on the Hel Peninsula, in the residence of the President of the Republic of Poland on the Polish Baltic coast. Acting as a host - on the grounds of the Polish Presidency of the Visegrad Group - I have had a pleasure of receiving our allies, neighbours, and friends, to whom we have been bound for 30 years now not only by the bonds of our shared history, but also by very close cooperation within the framework of the Visegrad Group.
Yesterday we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Visegrad Group, which was once formed by the Presidents of the then three countries: Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia - in order to achieve economic transformation in their countries at a faster pace, by cooperating and creating a kind of synergy in cooperation. It was 1991, just after the changes in the political system had taken place, and the aspiration was to get closer to Western Europe in economic and political terms, and in the future to accede to the European Union and to enhance our security by becoming part of the North Atlantic Alliance.
These goals have been successfully achieved, nowadays all our countries are members of the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance. But the cooperation goes on because we have repeatedly seen how our effectiveness was enhanced by the very fact that we are working together. A great many decisions of various kinds have been crafted by the Visegrad Group fold and by the leaders of the Visegrad countries, also in order to shape the European Union and our future, and - most importantly for us - to ensure the security and the highest possible living standards for our fellow citizens.
These topics been under our discussion over the last two days. We know what the situation is like at the moment – we all struggle with the coronavirus pandemic. Our debates yesterday were dominated by this subject. We talked about the problems with vaccine supply, about vaccination programmes and how far advanced they are in our respective countries. We also talked about our hopes and prospects of the coronavirus pandemic ending. And what is the current situation in our societies in its aftermath.
Today, we have discussed energy security and climate protection, but we have also discussed it through the prism of the quality of life in our countries - our responsibility to future generations. Therefore, none of us was in any doubt that we must protect the environment, that we must take action to protect the climate, that we must put them in practise and do it as quickly as possible. But, at the same time, we insisted that this must be done in a reasonable way.
I mentioned the principle of Just Transition, which we adopted at the COP24 conference over two years ago in Katowice - a just transition which takes account of human needs, which protects jobs, in short, which takes account of the social interest, which, in my view, is a fundamental issue, because - as we have stated today - the most important point is to make sure the people in our countries live a better life. Our great task is to lay down such, in a sense of responsibility also for future generations. These were the issues we have discussed today.
I would like to thank the Presidents very much for coming to Poland, for the opportunity to meet in person, in spite of the difficult conditions, in spite of all the restrictions, in spite of the fact that we have to wear masks – which is not the most comfortable arrangement to us. Nevertheless, let me thank you for these conversations: it has been a long time since we had the opportunity to meet directly face to face in this fold. I am very happy that this meeting has taken place. I hope it is a signal that normality and business as usual are gradually being restored.
I am pleased that we were able to be here together on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary, and to discuss the issues which are really matter to our societies at the present time - and for the future. Thank you for this exchange of views. It is always helping us to develop our positions. And even if there are differences of opinion, it is important that we talk about them, present our arguments, and as a result we know what to expect from each other. We always manage to find common ground, where we are able to support one another in our pursuit of the most important objective: to build the prosperity of our societies and the prosperity of our part of Europe - security, good quality of life and a prosperous future.
Thank you very much.