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PM: V4 wants its interests defended in Brexit talks

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Warsaw, March 28 (CTK) – The Visegrad Four (V4) countries, or the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, want to have the biggest possible influence on the mandate of the Brexit negotiators so that it also take Central European interests into account, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said yesterday.

He was speaking within a V4 summit which discussed the future legal position of EU citizens in Britain and Britain’s financial obligations towards the EU after its departure from the Union.

Sobotka said one of the V4’s major interests is the maintenance of exports’ access to the British market in order to prevent a loss of job opportunities in Czech firms exporting to Britain, for instance.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said Britain’s position cannot be better than that of any other EU member country after Brexit.

He said this would be the EU’s ” essential mistake.”

Turning to migration, Sobotka said “we have an identical, clearly negative stance on the obligatory redistribution of refugees. We reject interconnecting the debate on a reform of the asylum system with European funds that are an instrument of solidarity and cannot be used as a means of pressure,” Sobotka said.

Fico said Western firms gain 70 to 80 cents from each euro provided from EU funds.

Czech firms attended the other part of the V4 prime ministers’ meeting, focused on cooperation in innovations, support for start-ups and digitisation of the economy, the CEE Innovators Summit.

They included Beenode with its “smart tracker,” Flydeo which specialises in drones production and Corinth, whose educational interactive computer programme Corinth Classroom is used in 109 countries.

Sobotka said in conclusion of the meeting that not even the differing views on former Polish prime minister Donald Tusks’s remaining at the head of the European Council which was opposed by Poland affected yesterday’s talks which pragmatically concentrated on future matters.

“There are no internal problems here (in the V4). Naturally, there are internal differences, but they have always been here and they will be here in the future as well. We are capable of perceiving what is essential, what keeps the V4 together, and we have clearly agreed on a joint procedure on a number of issues,” Sobotka told Czech journalists.

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