The relevant ministers of the four Visegrád Group (V4) countries have agreed on the preparation of a feasibility study on the construction of a high-speed railway line to link their countries, to be completed by next autumn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI on Wednesday from the Lesser Polish town of Krynica-Zdrój, where he is attending an economic forum.

“While the Visegrád Group is the engine of EU development within the field of economic growth, we must still conquer our competitive disadvantage with relation to the infrastructure network”, Mr. Szijjártó declared.

“In Western Europe, people can travel all over the region using extremely high-speed railway lines, but this is not at all the case as yet in our region”, he added.

“For this reason, the countries of the V4 have come together and will begin the preparation of a feasibility study with relation to the construction of a high-speed railway line linking Budapest and Warsaw, via Bratislava and Brno”, Mr. Szijjártó told the press.

“We are thinking in terms of a railway line that will enable maximum speeds in excess of 250 km/h”, he added.

“The Hungarian Government has provided 1.5 billion forints (EUR 85.5 million) towards the preparation of the study. The public procurement tender will already be published this autumn to ensure that the study will make it onto the decision-makers’ tables by next autumn”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“The countries of the V4 are now undoubtedly the engine of growth of the European Union”, the Minister emphasised.

“The rate of growth of the V4 countries exceeds 4 percent, while the EU average is 2.5 percent”, he explained.

“Taken together, the economies of the V4 countries represent one of the largest markets in Europe”, he declared, noting that based on its economic performance the Central European economic area could easily be a member of the G20, which comprises the world’s largest economies.

“Accordingly, if the EU wants to be strong then instead of criticising and attacking the countries of the V4 it should exploit the economic potential that exists within the countries of Central Europe”, he underlined.

The Minister told the press that on the sidelines of the Krynica forum he also held bilateral talks with Polish Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk, Slovakian Transport Minister Árpád Érsek, and Polish Minister for Family, Employment and Social Policy Elżbieta Rafalska. He also held talks with the directors of Polish airline LOT. According to previous statements, earlier in the day Mr. Szijjártó also met with British Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington and Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov.

The Krynica forum, also referred to as the Central European Davos, was organised for the 28th time this year, with some five thousand guests attending the event.

Over 180 podium discussions and lectures will be held until the conference ends on Thursday within the fields of the economy, politics and regional and local government cooperation.