Great Britain and the V4 countries have declared their support of the territorial integrity and independence of the Ukraine on Thursday on the occasion of their meeting in Bratislava. Major topics of the consultation included challenges facing the EU and the upcoming trade and investment partnership between the EU and the United States.

In the joint declaration published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, the participants condemned Eastern Ukrainian dissidents’ intention to hold their own elections on 2 November in the Donetsk region. “The Ministers do not consider legitimate those elections that are contrary to the Minsk Protocol” – the declaration states. The signatories of the declaration urge the peaceful resolution of the conflict, for steps to be taken for the renewal of the “balance” with respect to the territorial integrity and independence of the Ukraine.

Following the meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told MTI that the attending ministers also agreed that the international community must formulate a plan on how to contribute to the establishment of a politically and economically sustainable Ukraine, as soon as possible.

He added that there was also agreement in that urgent steps are needed to restore the competitiveness of the European Union. “Europe will be competitive again if it is be able to restore respect for work and family” – the head of Hungarian diplomacy emphasised.

The third point on the agenda of Thursday’s meeting was the Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the United States (TTIP). Minister Szijjártó emphasized that “ Hungarian position is that this agreement must also be approved by national assemblies.

He expressed that it is in Hungary’s interest that an “ambitious” agreement be reached, but it cannot endanger the results that Hungary has achieved to date - primarily in the field of consumer protection, agriculture and health care – such as GMO free  products. The minister stated that he had also pointed out to his consultation partners that the agreement could be used to increase the energy security of the continent, to end United States restrictions on liquid natural gas exports.

Increasing energy security was one of the major topics of the bilateral meeting that had already been held  this morning by Péter Szijjártó with British Minister of Foreign Affairs Philip Hammond, in Bratislava on the invitation of the Slovakian diplomatic corps. The partners agreed that Europe must decrease the level of its external energy dependence and that the elaboration of national energy strategies must remain a sovereign power.

At the meeting, in terms of easing the energy dependence of Central European countries, Minister Szijjártó pointed out that for these countries, the establishment of the so called North-South Gas Corridor is very important, adding that they could connect their gas lines as soon as possible and that gas from both North and South could come through LNG terminals.

The meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Visegrad Four countries will continue on Friday with plenary consultations. On the second day of the meeting, the ministers of foreign affairs of the countries of the West Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo) will also join in.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)