Minister of State for Security Policy and International Cooperation István Mikola took part in the meeting of the Visegrád Group (V4) and the countries of the Eastern Partnership (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine), held in Minsk on 15 March 2017. During the summit, Mr. Mikola made speeches on the topics of cooperation in education, and connectivity and cross-border cooperation.

The Minister of State stressed that developing good relations with its neighbours is of key importance to the European Union, adding that in his opinion this is even more important to the V4 in view of the fact that the countries of the V4 have considerable historical, geographical and infrastructural relations with the Eastern Partners. Mr. Mikola highlighted the fact that the development of regional cooperation would also have a positive effect on Europe’s economic development. It was in the spirit of regional cooperation that Hungary launched, amongst others, a comprehensive programme to improve road links with neighbouring countries, he added.

With relation to cooperation in education, the Minister of State explained that youth policy is of key importance to Hungary in the interests of reinforcing mutual understanding and peaceful international cooperation with its partners. As an example, Mr. Mikola highlighted Hungary’s cross-border Stipendium Hungaricum Student Scholarship Programme, within the framework of which over 5000 students from 54 partner countries will be studying in Hungary during the course of 2017.

As the meeting’s closing event, Mr. Mikola attended a working lunch together with all the other delegates, during which he declared that Hungary regards the Eastern Partnership programme as a strategic foreign policy tool for facilitating stability and modernisation, and accordingly it will be playing a key role in Hungary’s upcoming presidency of the V4.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)