Szijjártó: a strong Visegrád voice is also in the interests of the EU

The appearance of a “strong Visegrád voice” in the debate on Europe’s future is also in the interests of the EU” – says the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó on Monday in Budapest.

At the official opening of the Századvég Summer School, the minister stressed that “We must make our voice heard” in the debate on the future of Europe, particularly in terms of making the EU competitive within the global economy, restoring the security of the European people, “preserving our Christian culture and European identity”, engaging in a fair and honest debate on the next seven-year budget, protecting European democracy and enlarging the European Union.

In relation to competitiveness, Mr Szijjártó  said plans to introduce tax harmonization in the European Union are unacceptable. On the subject of security, he stressed that the shift in the position of Western Europe must also be turned into actions. In terms of European democracy, the minister spoke about the fact that attempting to swiftly end the debate on important issues prior to the European Parliament elections is an anti-democratic approach.

“The EU is facing historic challenges which are fundamentally related to security,” the Foreign Minister said. At the same time, “values that were previous regarded as unshakeable are currently under attack in Europe, values that used to represent the foundations of the European social and economic system”, he explained.

Mr Szijjártó said that he believes an extremely lively debate has developed on the future of Europe, and although the existence of the debate is not bad news in itself, the fact that the debate almost immediately came to rest on emotional foundations and that everyone who does not speak in line with the expectations of the European mainstream is stigmatized is bad news. “This calls into question whether the debate can in fact have a rational conclusion”, he added.

The minister declared that the V4 has represented the voice of common sense throughout this debate and will continue to do so in future and to make sure their voices are clearly heard.

Central Europe has become the engine of EU growth and this region is the safest in the European Union, “but we were not always brave enough to say this out loud this in recent years”, he noted.

In the minister’s opinion, “the figures and results are on our side” and the countries of the V4 have proven on numerous occasions that their sometimes controversial policies serve the interests of the people who live here and all Europeans.

In his speech, Chairman of the Századvég Foundation Zsolt Barthel-Rúzsa stressed that “the countries of the Visegrád Group can be proud of the fact that they have a past, because this means there are stable foundations on which to continue building cooperation.”

As he explained, the strength of the V4 community lies in an approach that concentrates on what binds it together instead of what separates the four countries. “Even more important, however, is the fact that our governments care about what people think with relation to the future, politics and Europe, and they act accordingly”, he stated.

Speaking earlier on the Hungarian M1 television station, Mr. Barthel-Rúzsa said that cooperation between the four countries of the Visegrád Group will be the topic of the foundation’s summer university, which begins on Monday, and the participants will have the opportunity to attend lectures on the role of the V4, migration and the future of Europe, and also about how the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia will be able to realize even closer cooperation in future.

The summer university was organized with the Foundation’s V4 partners and with the support of the International Visegrád Fund. 20 mainly social and political science students who are open to attending and holding lectures on these topics have been chosen to participate in the program.

Source: MTI, Századvég