Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Zeman among V4 presidents backing West Balkans EU integration

ČTK |
16 October 2017

Szekszard, Hungary, Oct 14 (CTK correspondent) - The Visegrad Group's (V4) four presidents supported the EU accession by the West Balkans at a summit on Saturday, with Czech President Milos Zeman backing the position but mentioning Kosovo, still unrecognised by some EU members, as a question mark in the West Balkans question.

Zeman said the presidents of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia also agreed at their two-day meeting in Szekszard that they wish an acceleration of the West Balkans' EU integration process.

They stated that mainly in Bosnia, there is the risk of radical Islam spreading.

"All four presidents clearly agreed that mainly in Bosnia, the danger of further spreading of radical Islam is imminent. I am glad that my colleagues informed me that this [radical Islam] promotion has been largely financed by sources from Saudi Arabia," Zeman said.

He said the money does not serve to boost the wealth of Bosnia or any of its neighbours, but rather as investments in mosques and minarets, which may create a hotbed of religious intolerance.

Slovak President Andrej Kiska said the West Balkans economies have not fared well so far and that historical iniquities persist between states in the region.

"However, what unites all those people is their desire to be a part of the European Union," Kiska said.

He said a hope of EU accession must be given to these nations, which may help them tackle problems.

The presidents also discussed environment protection, digitisation and related problems, and also the problem of the dual quality of foods in the EU.

"The Czech Republic is Europe's most industrial country, so I chose the aspect of automation. Automation can considerably save the labour staff and the question is what should be done about it," Zeman said.

He said automation will not lead to new social conflicts if governments seek to have work hours shortened to a reasonable extent.

In connection with digitisation, Kiska said extremist views have been successfully and aggressively spreading by means of social networks.

Hungarian President Janos Ader said social media offer chances for being misused by terrorists.

Commenting on the dual quality of foods on EU markets, which was also on the agenda of V4 prime ministers' summit in Bratislava on Friday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said the four presidents disagreed with the sale of worse products to consumers in their respective countries.

"There is no place for discrimination in modern Europe," Duda said, adding that the way of solving the problem will be a test of the European community.

"We are equal members of the EU and have equal rights [as the Western members]," said Ader.

Another issue on the agenda was the circular economy concept, a system of waste procession that returns the maximum of wastes to the production process.

"There has been a permanent dispute between those promoting incineration plants as an effective way to use wastes for energy purposes, and those who are opposed to incinerators. Our debate showed that we could be realistic, not fanatic, advocates of incinerators," Zeman said.

Ader pointed to an excessive exploitation of natural sources and the need to deal not only with environmental problems but also ways to meet the industry's demands.

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