The Slovakian presidency of the Visegrád Group (V4) convened a meeting of high-level representatives of the four countries in Bratislava on 29-30 September 2014 to discuss current EU and international environmental issues.

As a result of the two-day meeting, the V4 countries (Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic), Bulgaria and Romania issued a Joint Declaration on the protection of air purity and the European Commission’s recently published package of amendments to legislation on waste management, which aims to realise a circular economy.

The Hungarian standpoint, which is in harmony with that of the other participants with regard to the major policy directions, was presented by Deputy State Secretary for Environmental Affairs András Rácz. Concerning the area of air purity, the V4 + 2 agreed that the 2030 emission reduction objectives set by the Commission require further review, and with relation to the proposal regarding the reduction of emissions from medium-sized combustion plants, the countries involved plan to develop and represent their standpoint jointly in future. With regard to the proposed package of amendments to waste management regulations, the V4 + 2 agreed that the waste management goals set by the Commission are too ambitious and should be modified to mirror the current situation and capabilities of individual member states while taking into account their differing social and economic circumstances.

Joined by France and Germany, the participants of the meeting also assessed the results of the climate summit headed by Ban Ki-Moon on 23 September, in addition to which they each held bilateral talks on future policy directions. On the topic of climate change, the Joint Declaration was signed by Minister of State for Development and Climate Policy and Priority Public Services Zsolt Szabó representing the Ministry of National Development.

(Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)