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V4 + Egypt summit targets improved economic ties

Ways to foster economic ties between Egypt and Central and Eastern Europe represented one focus of talks at a summit between government leaders of the Visegrád Group (V4) - Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia - and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Budapest Tuesday, state news wire MTI reported.

Photo: Károly Árvai/kormany.hu

Terrorism and illegal migration were among other topics discussed at the summit, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a joint press conference after the meeting.  

The summit was the first Visegrád Group event Hungary has hosted since taking over the rotating V4 presidency at the start of July.   

In a joint statement, the parties “expressed their wish to conduct political and strategic dialogues to identify new opportunities, coordinate efforts to explore them, and discuss international affairs of common interest.” The V4 and the Arab Republic of Egypt underlined the importance of the strategic partnership established between Egypt and the EU and “reiterated their determination to further invest in comprehensive, mutually beneficial and future-oriented relations.”

Cited on official government website kormany.hu, Orbán said that the Egyptian president and his government are making efforts to care for the millions of migrants currently in Egypt, to curb migration and to contain the situation. These efforts deserve recognition, he said, as they not only benefit Egypt, but equally the protection and stability of the entire European Union.

Orbán stated that Hungary, situated in the southern half of the EU, is especially grateful to the Egyptian president for this work, which also protects the Hungarian borders.

He went on to note that Libya has provided “an important lesson for the EU,” as “we have responsibility” for the situation which has developed there.

“Given that we Westerners intervened in the life of that country, but without a viable plan for the region, we also share responsibility for the fact that Libya’s northern border remains unguarded and unprotected, and has opened up towards Europe,” the prime minister said, adding that forces able to contain the situation in Libya should cooperate so that the country can once again have a strong political leadership that is able to enforce its laws.

On economic ties, Orbán voiced his hope for future economic cooperation between Central Europe and Egypt, indicating that at present this cooperation is “far below its true potential.” He referred to President el-Sisi’s suggestion that a special cooperation scheme between Central Europe and Egypt should be set up to bring these economic opportunities to fruition.

Orbán added that the prime ministers of the four Visegrád states had separate talks covering the issues of internally strengthening the EU, the state of the European economy and illegal migration.