Luxembourg, May 11 (CTK) – The Visegrad Four (V4) countries, or the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, have in Europe joint priorities with the Benelux countries, or Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka said at the close of his two-day visit to Luxembourg yesterday.
Sobotka’s (Social Democrats, CSSD) visit to Luxembourg, the first by a Czech prime minister, was largely affected by the current government crisis in the Czech Republic.
“They appreciated very much that I did not cancel the visit under the pressure of domestic developments and that it eventually took place,” Sobotka said.
He said he used his talks in Luxembourg on Wednesday and today, including in the Luxembourg parliament, to “cast light on certain differences” that still exist in Europe in his opinion.
He mentioned “a certain cultural context that is connected with the opinions we have in the Czech Republic, or in Slovakia, or in Poland or in Hungary,” Sobotka said.
He said the path to the future does not lead via expelling some countries and their ostracisation, but via the strengthening of dialogue.
The V4 and Benelux countries, all of which are smaller EU members, are now preparing for their first joint summit in Warsaw on June 19.
“Despite all the differences that logically exist between us, I would be glad if the Warsaw deliberations contributed to that we will send out a signal of our joint interest in Europe’s cohesiveness.” Sobotka said.
Sobotka met Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Prague last week.
Sobotka said the V4 and Benelux are interested in boosting European security as well as in support for economic growth and a better functioning of the EU’s internal market.
Sobotka said the Czech Republic is also interested in bilateral cooperation with the small, but rich and developed Luxembourg.
“There exists scope for a broader participation of our firms active in the field of cosmic technologies in Luxembourg,” Sobotka said.
Luxembourg is the Czech Republic’s important foreign trade and investments partner.
Their trade turnover amounted to more than 384 billion euros in 2016, the Czech Government Office said today.
Sobotka had talks with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on Wednesday. Today, they took part in a reception at the Czech embassy marking the 95th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Sobotka presented Frantisek Sedy, nestor of the Czech expatriate community in Luxembourg, the Karel Kramar Medal.
Kramar (1860-1937) was Czech and Czechoslovak politician, participant in the World War One resistance and the first prime minister of the Czechoslovak Republic after it was established in 1918.
Sobotka also had a brief meeting with Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.
At the close of his visit, Sobotka visited the cathedral in which John of Luxembourg, a 14th century King of Bohemia, has his tomb.