“The V4 has forged a path in Europe, and the policies that the Visegrád Group pioneered are now being followed by several countries”, Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér said at a meeting between the interior ministers of the V4 countries and Austria.

At the press conference following the meeting, the Minister of Interior highlighted the fact that there is harmony between the Visegrád Group countries with relation to all fields, and this is why the Hungarian Presidency of the V4 was so successful over the past year.

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“We have achieved significant results with relation to protecting Hungary’s borders, in addition to which we have also provided assistance to other countries, and we now also have the opportunity to also provide support to Albania and Bosnia-Hercegovina”, he explained. “Cooperation to put an end to people smuggling is also an important task”, he added.

Mr. Pintér asked his Slovakian counterpart that the new Slovakian Presidency of the V4 continue the work that has been started, in which Hungary will be providing its full support. He also asked Austria to strive to facilitate the enforcement of jointly determined goals in Europe, since the goal is for all of Europe to have a unified approach to migration, national defence and the permeability of internal borders.

Polish Minister of Interior and Public Administration Joachim Brudzinski stressed that the countries of the Visegrád Group have consistently put forward their standpoint on migration from the very beginning, and it has been proven that they were right. “The V4 was right with relation to the fact that the future of the EU must be assured against the uncontrolled inflow of migrants”, he said.

Mr. Brudzinski said Poland is supporting the EU with relation to protecting its southern external borders, in addition to which as an eternal border country it is protecting the EU’s eastern border and also providing assistance along other stretches of the border.

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He said that in his view the V4 governments are being helped by the fact that they have the full backing of their societies, which is not necessarily the case in other, older member states.

Slovakian Interior Minister Denisa Sakova emphasised that as the new President of the V4, her country would like to continue the successful work begun by Hungary. “Just as Hungary has done, Slovakia will also be striving to effectively represent the position of the V4 within the EU”, she said. “In addition, we will be placing major emphasis on protecting external borders and on preserving the Schengen system”, she added.

Ms. Sakova said that similarly to the Hungarian Presidency, Poland also wishes to engage in continuous dialogue with the Western Balkan region, because it is important to facilitate the solution to the migration crisis along the Western Balkan migration route.

The Slovakian Minister of Interior said the fight against terrorism and cybercrime are also important goals.

Secretary-General of the Austrian Ministry of Interior Peter Goldgruber spoke about the fact that Austria will be taking over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second half of this year, and the motto of the Austrian Presidency will be A Protective Europe. “The Presidency’s goal is for the EU to become closer to its citizens, which includes reinforcing border protection in view of the fact that the people are justified in expecting Europe to jointly and effectively protect its external borders”, he pointed out.

“In addition, the Austrian Presidency will be placing major emphasis on putting an end to people smuggling and on tasks relating to the Western Balkan migration route”, he said.

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“Protecting external borders and the establishment of an asylum system that can withstand the crisis is an extremely important issue”, Mr. Goldgruber said.

The Czech Republic’s Ambassador to Budapest, Jurah Chmiel told reporters that key issues relating to external border protection were discussed at the meeting, in addition to which the parties reinforced their ongoing cooperation. “The migration crisis must be resolved along the external borders and in source countries”, he declared. “The reinforcement of cooperation between the V4 and Austria is also extremely important in view of the fact that Austria will soon take over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union”, the diplomat added.

((MTI / kormany.hu))