‘Back on Track’ will be motto of Polish V4 presidency: president

(L-R) Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Hungarian PM Victor Orbán, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki and Slovak PM Igor Matovič during official welcome ceremony at the Belvedere Palace before the Visegrad Group prime ministers meeting in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

Polish President Andrzej Duda declared on Friday that Poland’s presidency of the Visegrad Group (V4) will be inspired by the motto “Back on Track” and added that it means a return to a path of development, to contacts among people, and to economic cooperation.

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The president made the statement while addressing a V4 summit in Warsaw, attended by the PMs of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia (Mateusz Morawiecki, Andrej Babiš, Viktor Orbán and Igor Matovič) and inaugurating Poland’s rotating presidency of the group.

President Duda expressed his gratitude to the Czech presidency which, despite the extraordinary circumstances caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, managed to uphold high dynamics of dialogue and achieved a lot for the sake of the group’s common interests in the region and in the EU forum.

The Polish head of state expressed his hope that the coming year “will be marked by very good cooperation and constructive efforts made by the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland in order to implement the planned priorities.” He also added that he was sure the four economies would quickly return to a path of growth.

President Duda added that during the coronavirus pandemic, all the V4 countries “managed to cope well with health problems.”

He also quoted recent Eurostat data, according to which V4 countries had the lowest unemployment rate in the entire EU. “This has been possible owing to the proper response of our governments,” he stated.

“Over the past three decades, the V4 has shown on numerous occasions that it is an effective format for coordinating the partners’ efforts, as well as facilitating the promotion of regional interests and better understanding among its members,” the Polish president said.

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He added that the V4’s strong stance has helped influence decisions of the European Union in recent years, referring to the region’s veto to mandatory refugee relocation, as an example. Mr Duda stressed the need to secure the Union’s borders and channel EU aid to regions where conflicts and problems that cause migration originate.

The V4 has proved “that we are valuable and ambitious countries which are a source of optimism in Europe, and a source of development and support for the idea of European unity and solidarity,” the Polish president said.

He encouraged the PMs of the V4 to focus in their discussions on the next budget of the European Union. “I believe that it is the most important task for us, considering EU policy,” he said.

“We want our region to become a development hub in Europe after the pandemic. We have strong ambitions, but also strong development needs. That’s why we want an ambitious budget that will focus on growth, on European cohesion and the implementation of major infrastructural investments that will also provide a boost to the European economy in our region,” the Polish president stressed.