“Today, the Visegrád Group (V4) has considerably more substance than it used to and is an important forum that is capable of highlighting both its cooperation with the European Union and the importance of the fact that the diverse requirements of regions must not be trampled on”, Deputy Justice Minister Pál Völner told Hungarian news agency MTI at an event in Vienna to mark the Hungarian presidency of the Visegrád Group.

“Although the rotating presidency itself is simply a matter of protocol, its weight within the Visegrád Group itself must be recognised in view of the fact that the members of the Group take their joint efforts seriously and regard it as an honour when it is their turn to act as president”, the Deputy Minister said. Mr. Völner said that in his opinion Great Britain’s exit from the European Union is also proof of the fact that policy must not trample over the interests of individual nation states. “We must also take care of our interests, not just our values”, he stressed in the interview for MTI.

In reply to a question, the Deputy Justice Minister said Austria would also be able to articulate its own interests with relation to the V4, but stressed that we must be open to handling common problems with Austria, and also with Croatia and the Baltic nations.
Emese Tőkés held a piano recital at the Hungarian Embassy in Vienna to mark the beginning of the Hungarian presidency of the V4.
The event was attended by many Ambassadors, former members of the Austrian government and Members of Parliament.

In his speech, Mr. Völner highlighted the fact that Europe is experiencing a difficult period and the significance of the Visegrád countries has increased from a security perspective. The immigration crisis, which has had many negative consequences, has proven the great importance of Europe’s cultural identity and intellectual heritage, “which we are ready to firmly defend”, he said.

“There is a good chance that during the Hungarian presidency the four countries of the Visegrád Group can remain the most rapidly developing region in Europe and gain a greater weight in forming the future of the continent”, he highlighted.

Hungary’s Ambassador to Vienna János Perényi told MTI: The event’s guests also indicate that the significance of V4 cooperation is being acknowledged to an increasing extent. “This is particularly important in view of the fact that one of the main priorities of the Hungarian V4 presidency will be joint regional work, primarily with Austria and Slovenia”, he said.

In reply to a question, Ambassador Perényi also said that further priority areas of the Hungarian presidency will include issues relating to the migration crisis, digitalisation, defence policy and security policy. According to the Ambassador, Austrian, Hungarian and V4 foreign policy also intersects with relation to accelerating the EU integration of the Western Balkan region.