The countries of the Visegrád Cooperation are increasing their defence and military cooperation, Minister of Defence István Simicskó said. The defence ministers of the countries of the Visegrád Cooperation (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) held a professional consultation on Tuesday in Castle Garden Bazaar, Budapest.

At a press conference held after the discussion, István Simicskó said that today, thanks partly to the defence and law enforcement organs and the measures they have taken, the V4 are among the most secure countries in the world. As he said, “the V4 cooperation is exemplary”, which sets an example to other countries of Europe as well.

According to the minister of defence, the cooperation of V4 countries has become a strong pillar of Europe. Therefore, as he said, “the European Union must hear the voice of the V4.”

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István Simicskó said that the participants of the work meetings on Tuesday reviewed almost all security challenges and threats. The topics of discussion included the increase of terrorism, the impacts of migration, demographic issues, the problems of hybrid warfare, the current state of the information revolution and the citizens’ vulnerability in cyberspace.

He noted that two and a half years ago, when the wave of mass illegal migration reached Hungary, the measures of the Hungarian government were assisted and supported by the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The Hungarian minister of defence has now thanked his counterparts for this help again.

He also mentioned that Brussels has “announced a competition” to see “who can receive more migrants and who can give up European Christian values more quickly”. Hungary considers this a wrong direction, the minister stated, adding that Hungary is willing to compete in providing more effective protection of the Schengen borders and European Christian values.

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At the press briefing, István Simicskó also noted that he had earlier told his counterparts that Hungary would like to have the military chaplaincies of the four countries organize a joint conference, because, according to the minister, the true value of the armed forces lies in their faith, in addition to military professionalism.

Slovak Defence Minister Peter Gajdos said that the V4 is a voice that can be heard in NATO and the EU as well. According to him, the participants of the Tuesday meeting also made preparations for the NATO Summit in Brussels. Besides, he informed his counterparts about the main priorities during Slovakia’s upcoming presidency.  They also discussed the possibilities for the V4 participation in the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project, and the V4 EU Battle Group which is scheduled to enter a standby period again in the second half of 2019.

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According to Czech Defence Minister Karla Slechtová, all four ministers declared that they do not want to have any duplications between NATO and PESCO. Besides, they also discussed public procurements in the EU, of which the Czech defence minister said that in some months, public procurement process in the European Union would probably be simplified along guidelines.

Polish Deputy Minister of National Defence Tomasz Szatkowski also underlined that the four countries joined forces in countering the threat posed by mass illegal migration and the threats arising from the east.

On Wednesday, the V4 defence ministers, together with the defence leaders of Croatia, Slovenia and Austria, attended the V4+CEDC (Central European Defence Cooperation) Meeting in Budapest.