President on the Visegrad Group summit in Slovakia
A two-day summit of presidents of the Visegrad Group countries started in in Strbske Pleso, Slovakia, on Thursday morning, to discuss modern challenges facing Europe, responsible social policy and technological progress.
Apart from Polish President Andrzej Duda, the summit is also attended by the presidents of Hungary - Janos Ader, of the Czech Republic - Milos Zeman and of Slovakia - Andrej Kiska.
After a welcoming ceremony, the heads of state of the Visegrad Group took part in the first panel discussion.
Polish presidential aide Krysztof Szczerski stated that the presidents of the Visegrad Group countries agree that EU institutions interfere excessively in member states' internal affairs, including those of Poland and Hungary.
Krzysztof Szczerski underscored that as beneficiaries of EU unity and representatives of very pro-European societies, the heads of state of the Visegrad Group have "a right and duty" to talk about what they see as the shortcomings of contemporary European integration.
"One of those shortcomings, which they have all highlighted, is the excessive interference of European institutions in the internal politics of member states, they also all mentioned such examples as the interference of European institutions in the situation in Hungary and Poland," the presidential minister reported.
This interference has an ex-treaty nature and "causes us to have a situation in which the institutions themselves create their own competencies," according to Krzysztof Szczerski.
"It is something that makes Europe lose its foundation, which it had at the beginning, that everything that happens in Europe happens with the agreement of the states, on behalf of the European nations and with respect for their political choices, with respect for their political opinions," Szczerski added.
The presidential aide went on to comment that Poland and Slovakia were leading criticism of the planned German-Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, but that the remaining V4 countries - the Czech Republic and Hungary - support their critical stance of the project. He added that none of the V4 countries was involved in the Nord Stream 2 project or would be a beneficiary of it.
Later, the heads of state of the Visegrad Group will take part in the second panel discussion and visit the Museum of Liptov Village.
On Friday, the presidents will attend the third plenary session, which will be followed by a joint press conference.
See also: V4 presidents meet in Hungary "While addressing panel debates, President Duda will speak about the growing economic and political potential of Central Europe. Regional cooperation is today an important link of actions leading to the unity and solidarity of the entire EU," was said by presidential aide Krzysztof Szczerski.
He stressed that Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary "are among the most dynamically developing EU countries."
"Poland and our region have many effective solutions to offer to Europe. We know how to connect the policy of economic development with the implementation of social duties of the state. Programmes like 500 Plus effectively support social cohesion while projects like the Three Seas Initiative build infrastructural cohesion of the entire EU. In Europe we are an example of responsible policy, focusing on the security of citizens and meeting their expectations," Krzysztod Szczerski said.
According to the official, the Polish President will also speak about Europe's identity and its potential influence on the future of the entire European project.
The Visegrad Group, established in 1991, is composed of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Slovakia is currently holding the presidency of the group. (PAP/AW)