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Czech News in English » News » Czech Republic and the EU » Warsaw V4 summit issues joint statement on EU future

Warsaw V4 summit issues joint statement on EU future

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Warsaw, March 2 (CTK correspondent) – The European Union reforms should be based on the equality of interest of all the member states, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said after a meeting with her Czech, Hungarian and Slovak colleagues that approved a Visegrad Group (V4) statement on the EU future yesterday.
Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka said the V4 statement put emphasis on the maintaining of the single market and the Schengen Area of free movement and on the protection and defence of the external borders of Europe.
The four countries plan to present this statement at the EU summit in Rome at the end of March that is to discuss the EU future after the departure of Britain.
Szydlo, Sobotka, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Slovak PM Robert Fico also called on the European Commission to pay more attention to the different quality of foods in various EU member states and they said the EC reaction to the repeated complaints was insufficient.
“I am afraid the European Commission underestimates this issue, and this is a mistake,” Sobotka said.
He said the Warsaw meeting yesterday might become a wake-up call for Brussels in this respect.
“One cannot agree with the idea that there are some first-class citizens and second-class citizens. That a part of the citizens is offered first-class products and another part of European citizens are offered products that have the same brand, the same wrapping, even the same producer, yet its quality is lower,” Sobotka said, adding that such a situation is unacceptable.
Fico proposed launching a petition campaign on the double standards that would force the EC to take action once one million signatures were gathered. Sobotka said the Czech Republic might join this campaign if Brussels took no steps in the weeks to come. He said this might be an initiative of the whole V4 group.
Sobotka confirmed that the V4 countries failed to reach agreement on support for European Council President Donald Tusk to serve another mandate in the post. He said the Czech Republic supported Tusk, while Poland opposed his repeated nomination. Slovakia also backed Tusk and Hungary had a rather neutral stance.
Sobotka said Prague supported Tusk because it had good experience with him and because Tusk is the only representative of the new EU member states leading a key EU institution.
“I consider it a great success that he is Polish since he is a man from the neighbouring country, from Central Europe and the Visegrad Group. Tusk helped us in the past few years a lot,” he said.
Sobotka said it is crucial that Central and East Europe do not lose this position. Tusk has won support from the crushing majority of the EU member states, he said.

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