Kover warns against swapping one energy dependence for another
The meeting focused on the region’s security, the situation in Ukraine, the energy crisis and illegal migration.
Kover said the meeting had helped the speakers better understand each other’s positions and reaffirm the importance of the Visegrad Four in European cooperation.
The speaker attributed the success of the central European grouping comprising Hungary, Czechia, Poland and Slovakia to the members seeking cooperation in areas on which they are more united and avoiding issues on which they disagree.
Concerning the security challenges posed by the Russia-Ukraine war, Kover said the speakers were in agreement that Russia’s ambitions must not pose a threat to the region. They also agreed, he said, that this required the existence of a sovereign and democratic Ukraine.
Kover also said that Hungary has been carrying out the largest humanitarian operation in its history since the outbreak of the war.
As regards illegal migration, he said there was a danger that the Ukraine war would overshadow the fact that more and more people were attempting to enter Europe illegally.
He noted that the number of illegal entrants apprehended by the Hungarian authorities more than doubled last year to 270,000 from 120,000 in 2021.
“From our part, we believe the EU is not doing enough to support the countries that are doing the most to curb illegal migration,” Kover said. The operation of the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone is dependent on illegal migration being stopped, the speaker added.
On the topic of the energy crisis, Kover warned that the problem of energy dependence must be resolved without it leading into another one-sided dependence, adding that the specific situations of member states should also be taken into consideration.
The participants of the Bratislava meeting adopted a joint statement declaring that they view the V4 as an effective platform for their shared interests. The statement also firmly condemns the war against Ukraine and expresses the V4’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as their commitment to aiding the country on the basis of their individual sovereign decisions. It reaffirms that the interest of the V4 lies in a strong, coherent and effective EU. It also emphasises the importance of unity and mutual solidarity among EU member states when it comes to the energy crisis and acknowledges the challenges around energy diversification in a regional context. The statement also expresses the V4’s concern over the rise in illegal migration and underlines the need to strengthen the EU’s external borders.