Visegrad Group-Croatia summit in Hungary ends


Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Friday, at the closing press conference of a summit of Visegrad Group countries and Croatia, that their presidents had held very important talks over the past two days on subjects defining the future not only of their countries but of the European continent as well, from climate change, energy and migration to the security and stability of all of Southeast Europe.

She said the presidents reiterated that they had big expectations of a climate conference in Paris in December. She said it was estimated that millions of people would leave their homes in the years ahead because of climate change and this was the last moment for tackling the problems caused by climate change.

Connecting our countries in terms of energy is in our interest because energy efficiency and independence of one or two sources of gas or oil is an essential factor of each state’s national security and political stability, economy and living standards, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

By building an LNG terminal on Krk island in Croatia as soon as possible and connecting with the Visegrad Group countries as well as those in the Baltic-Adriatic initiative, we would help make our countries independent of possible manipulation of gas supply or prices in terms of energy, economically, politically and in every other way, she added.

The summit confirmed the joint position that the current migrant crisis is long term and multilayered, that the European Union will struggle with it for years and that it should be handled in the long term and comprehensively, in the spirit of solidarity.

Grabar-Kitarovic reiterated that a humane side should be shown to those indeed in need of help and protection, such as refugees fleeing war, that the EU would have to set aside more funds for the construction and maintenance of refugee camps in first reception countries – Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon – where migrants would be ensured decent living conditions, that it was necessary to strongly secure the EU’s external borders, notably the Turkish-Greek border, and that it was necessary to separate refugees from economic migrants, who she said were not fleeing but wanted a better life.

No one in this world is denying anyone the right to a better life, but the fact is that neither the EU nor the states represented at this meeting have the capacity to take in all those people, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

Hungarian President Janos Ader underlined the criminal side of the migrant crisis, telling reporters that human smuggling had become extremely lucrative and that in recent months hundreds of criminals had got rich on the suffering and misfortune of others. That’s not right and we must certainly change that, he said, underlining the importance of cooperation between countries’ police and security services.

Czech President Milos Zeman said the structure of the refugees was very questionable and that an analysis of how many political migrants and how many jihadists were among them had not been done yet. There are many forged Syrian documents and there are many young and healthy people among the refugees, with money and i-Phones who left their families in war zones, which is not proof of their courage, he said.

Slovak President Andrej Kiska said the presidents agreed that energy connections should be stronger but that each country was entitled to choose which fuels best suited it. I underlined that green, clean energy must not endanger our states and companies in the market sense, he said. If we do get funds which we can invest in green energy, we must do so considerately, keeping in mind that some companies set aside huge amounts to buy energy, he added.

Kiska underlined the need for solidarity within Europe so that it was not again divided into eastern and western Europe. Unfortunately, some people view old member states as an ATM – when we need help, we ask them for it, and when our partners need our help and support, we aren’t capable of doing it, he said. That must not be our message and we should always think how to deal with the problem at EU level, he added.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said the refugee problem could not be handled by the countries to which they were coming. It is a European problem which should be dealt with at the European level and it is not right to leave it up to the member states hit by migrant waves, he added.

The protection of EU borders requires an elaborate and effective common policy of dealing with the migrant crisis, he said. (Hina)