"We cannot look upon the European Union as an 'elite club'; the doors to the EU are open and it's worth striving and building a country with future EU membership in mind", Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Saturday in Hungary.
Andrzej Duda was speaking in the Hungarian city of Szekszard at a press conference following a two-day summit of Visegrad Group presidents. The Visegrad Group is comprised of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
V4 presidents meet in Hungary
President Duda underscored that the EU must clearly state that it is open to new members, adding that countries that aspire to join must fulfil certain conditions, which should be clearly defined.
"It is necessary for both those countries and societies to have that ambition to achieve an ever higher level by getting closer to the EU, at the same time, building their economy and entire state system more effectively (...) to fight corruption and establish modern, democratic institutions", the president said.
"It is also necessary for the EU. We cannot regard EU as an 'elite club' closed to others. Quite the opposite. I see the EU as something that will last for another decade and, God willing, another century, something that should have an open character, a dynamic character".
"If the society of Great Britain decides to leave the EU, then so be it. It is their right within the EU framework. But we should keep the doors open and say: the EU is also accessible, because we want it to be bigger (...) so that its economy grows. We want to build an area of prosperity in Europe but also an area of peace and security", Andrzej Duda stressed.
In the president's opinion, democracy in the EU means the union's evolution should be driven by European societies not by European bureaucracy which, in his view, is detached from real social needs. "The most important thing is that element of the message to the Balkan countries, which have so many problems of their own (...) that the EU's doors are open and it's worth striving to get in, worth building their countries with a view to future membership", Andrzej Duda concluded.
On Friday, the Visegrad Group's heads of state began a two-day summit in the Hungarian city of Szekszard. Besides President Duda, the summit is attended by presidents of Hungary (Janos Ader - PAP), Czech Republic (Milos Zeman ) Slovakia (Andrej Kiska ). The four presidents have been discussing Euro-Atlantic integration of the Balkan countries, EU single market and ecological problems.
During a Saturday press conference, the Polish President congratulated his Hungarian counterpart on "a certain courage in preparing the summit topics in the light of the EU's present condition".
"Considering the issues discussed recently by the European Union leaders, none of the topics we brought up here can be regarded as a run-of-the-mill one. The EU debate has recently been revolving around the Union's crisis, Brexit, but we, here, have practically not touched upon these subjects", the president stressed. "We have, indeed, debated the EU's future in the most positive sense of the word", Andrzej Duda added.
As the Polish president pointed out, one of the summit's topics was the issue of the Western Balkan states, including ways to assure permanent peace in these countries so that their populations can prosper. "We believe the path to this is the EU integration and our common stance is absolutely clear here", President Duda emphasised.
Presidents of the Visegrad Group agreed at the Szekszard meeting that the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU should be accelerated.
"I would like to sincerely thank all teachers for educating our youth", Polish President Andrzej Duda said in Hungary on Saturday, addressing his comments to all teachers of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries.
"Since we are celebrating the so-called Teachers' Day today, I would like to extend my very sincere thanks to all teachers for educating our youth", President Duda said.
He went on to wish teachers satisfaction in their work as well as "having possibilities created to perform their beautiful, unusually important and responsible profession, essential for the development of our society and our country. I extend those wishes not only to Polish teachers, but to all teachers of the Visegrad Group countries", he underlined. (PAP)