V4, Ukrainian, Swedish foreign ministers to meet in Prague


A meeting of the foreign ministers of the Visegrád Four countries (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland) will take place in Prague this week with the participation of their counterparts from Sweden and Ukraine who were invited as guests, the Czech Foreign Ministry press department told CTK Friday.

The ministers will discuss regional cooperation between the EU and east European countries. “The future of the EU and its neighboring countries will be the main topic and an emphasis will be put on the current situation in Ukraine, Serbia and Belarus,” the ministry said. The independence of Kosovo will probably also be one of the questions on the agenda since there is no united view on the recognition of its independence even among the V4 countries.

While Poland has recognized the independent Kosovo, Slovakia is against the recognition. The Czech Republic and Hungary have adopted the wait-and-see position but tend to recognizing the new Kosovo. The politicians will probably also discuss the EU rotating presidency. Prague will take the EU presidency in the H1 of next year, followed by Sweden. The two countries are coordinating their priorities and the preparation, along with France that will hold the EU presidency six months ahead of the Czech Republic.

The representatives of the V4 countries, Ukraine and Sweden will also talk about the results of the recent NATO summit in Bucharest. Ukraine hoped that the Alliance would invite it to join NATO’s Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the summit, which is a step towards the admission in the Alliance. This did not happen because Germany and France were opposed to it mainly for the fear, as is generally believed, not to unnecessarily irritate Russia. The NATO representatives, however, have made it clear to Ukraine and Georgia that they could count with NATO membership in the future. Bilateral meetings between the individual countries’ foreign ministers can be expected to take place during the Prague meeting.

The Declaration on cooperation on the path to European integration was signed between the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland in the Hungarian town of Visegrád in 1991. After Czechoslovakia’s division in 1993 the Visegrád Three has turned into the Visegrád Four. Many meetings of the V4 presidents, prime ministers, ministers and chief of staffs as well as consultations of the four countries’ supreme courts have taken place since then. The cooperation stagnated in the mid-1990s and only in 1998 the countries’ prime ministers agreed to renew it, which happened at a summit in Bratislava in 1999. (Prague Daily Monitor)

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