Readying for Bratislava Summit: Visegrad Teams Up to Push a Common Agenda

Written by | Friday, September 9th, 2016

Four Visegrad countries are going to team up to formulate and push through their joint agenda before next week’s Bratislava summit on the future of the EU after Brexit. Polish PM Beata Szydlo said that the Visegrad Group consisting of 4 Central European countries – Czech and Slovak Republics, Poland and Hungary – has “enormous potential … (and) a recipe for the EU“. Ms Szydlo believes that the EU needs reforms “to bring it closer to its citizens”.

Prime ministers of the Visegrad countries, who all became EU members in 2004, met during an economic forum in the Polish town of Krynica and discussed the consequences of the British vote to leave the EU. Nationalists in the region argue that Brexit pointed to the fact that EU citizens are dissatisfied with the block as they feel estranged from Brussels and mainly from its agenda on migrants and human rights. According to one of such voices, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Brexit offers an opportunity to fix the EU’s mistakes.

The summit will take place in Slovakia, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said that the summit would “launch a major process, a diagnostic on the health of the EU” and defining “a remedy to cure it”. The Visegrad leaders also seized the opportunity given by the summit in Krynica when they met with their Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Groysman. They expressed support for Ukraine’s European vision and both Mr Fico and Mr Orban called for a visa-free travel for the Ukrainians. “It’s a moral issue,” Mr Orban said, referring to the visa-free facility for the Ukrainians and added that the bloc should hold on to its promise to bring Ukraine closer.

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