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V4 meets its Eastern partners and rejects the “refugee fee”

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Czechia, Prague – Visegrád’s four hold a meeting on May 3-4, with the Foreign Ministers of their Eastern partners. The V4 continues to be committed to the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program, according to the Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek organized on May 3-4 the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the V4 and of its Eastern partners. Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia were present at the table of negotiation, as was the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Johannes Hahn.

Several topics had been discussed, such as the Nagorno-Karabakh situation between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the migrant crisis and many economical cooperation projects.

At the end of the two days of meeting, on Wednesday May 4, the Foreign Ministers of the Visegrád group made a common press conference. The main topic was the idea of a fee for the countries refusing “refugees”. This proposition made by the European Commission would cost Hungary € 500 million if passed. “This is unacceptable and non-European,” estimated the Hungarian FM, qualifying this idea as a blackmail. “The quota concept is a dead end street and I would like to ask the commission not to run into this dead end street anymore,” he added.

His Polish counterpart Witold Waszczykowski said the press that he was “wondering if this is a serious proposition, because it really looks like an April’s fool”. In Warsaw, the government’s spokesperson Rafal Bochenek reacted to the European Commission’s idea by qualifying such measure of being against the national sovereignty and that this matter should be resolved outside the EU’s borders.

Finally, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó criticized the ending of visa requirements for Turkish citizens, arguing that “only countries that meet all the criteria can get the visa-free regime. From our perspective, it would be unacceptable that Georgia and Ukraine would benefit this visa-free regime after Turkey.”