“Brussels must not be allowed to drastically reduce our development policy resources, as it is planning to do”, State Secretary for European Union Development Projects Tamás Schanda from the Ministry for Innovation and Technology declared in Bratislava on Tuesday.

The State Secretary spoke about this at a press conference following a meeting of minsters responsible for transport of the Visegrád Group countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the V4), after he and his V4 partners signed a memorandum of understanding on the construction of a high-speed railway line connecting their countries.

“The economic results of the V4 speak for themselves; these countries are performing outstandingly and are successful, but a few conditions are required for this to continue”, Mr. Schanda said. “One such condition is that we are able to develop transport infrastructure and, with relation to this, that the European Union should have a rational budget”, he explained.

With relation to the European Commission’s draft budget for the period 2021 to 2027, which it presented a year ago, the State Secretary said: “According to the plan, there would be fewer resources for well-functioning programmes such as cohesion and the Common Agricultural Policy, but many orders of magnitude more for programmes that are directly managed by the EC. This draft budget, which plans to reduce resources by ten percent within the field of cohesion policy,  would lead to a reduction in funding of over 20 percent for the countries of the Visegrád Group”.

“This budget is unacceptable for the countries of the Visegrád Group”, Mr. Schanda underlined, adding that he and his V4 partners had drawn-up a joint standpoint concerning the fact that the funding for well-functioning programmes, including the financing provided for the development of transport infrastructure, must be kept at its current level.

In reply to a question from Hungarian news agency MTI concerning the high-speed railway line that will connect the countries of the Visegrád Group, the State Secretary told reporters: The feasibility studies will be prepared in the next phase, and the project’s financing must also be established. “We also agreed that the EU must co-finance the project” he added. The realisation of the high-speed rail link requires the construction of a totally new railway line on which trains will travel at 300 kilometres per hour along the Budapest-Bratislava-Brno-Warsaw route, according to plan.