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Meeting of V4 Defence Ministers in Slovakia

Szöveg: Béla Révész |  2019. június 10. 20:49

The European Union can only be strong if it is made up of strong Member States – Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő stated on 10th June, in the meeting of the Ministers of Defence of the Visegrád Co-operation (V4), in Pöstyén (Piešťany), Slovakia.

The defence heads of the V4 Member States, that is of Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland met in Pöstyén on Monday. In the discussion, attended by Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő, Peter Gajdoš, Slovakian Defence Minister, Lubomir Metnar, Czech Defence Minister and Tomasz Zdzikot, Polish State Secretary, first the evaluation of the Slovakian Presidency closing on 30th June was on the agenda. It was said that the results achieved show that under the Slovakian Presidency the V4 EU Battle Group’s joint activity can be regarded as outstanding.

In the press conference following the session, Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő told us, that in the discussion the preparation of the battle group for the standby duty in the second half year of 2019 was assessed as a success, and with an eye to the future he regards the agreement on the re-establishment of the battle group in 2023 as an important result. “The year behind us proves that V4 is a successful regional alliance with a growing visibility, which is ever more successful in the area of defence co-operation. There is a need for this, since the value of Europe’s security, and the region’s stability has increased recently. This co-operation is of high priority for Hungary" – Minister of Defence noted.

After the working session, the V4 Defence Ministers had discussions with the defence heads of the Member States – Croatia, Slovenia and Austria – involved in the Central European Defence Co-operation (CEDC). Regarding the co-operation, the Hungarian Defence Minister pointed out that the European Union can only be strong, if it is made up of strong Member States, therefore, the further development of the joint capabilities is necessary. As he said, they all agreed that NATO has to face not only challenges in the East, but also challenges in the South. “Hungary intends to be present in the Central European Defence Co-operation as a key partner. A tangible evidence of this is the migration crisis management exercise COOPSEC 2019, which is organised by Hungary in October this year, with the participation of fifteen countries. During the exercise the police and military forces will practice co-ordinated action against migration emergency" – Tibor Benkő informed us.

In connection with the preparedness and the response capability, the Defence Minister said that with a view to deepen the defence co-operation, the earliest setting up of the Central-European Multinational Division Command is of top priority.

As for the discussions, Peter Gajdoš, the Slovakian Defence Minister assessed the co-operation as a success on the part of the V4 Presidency as well, pointing out to the increasingly prominent role of the EU BG. “Our strength lies in our unity" – he said, adding that the V4 Member States are constantly widening the opportunities for co-operation, moreover they are seeking the opportunities for co-operation with other European countries.

In the final stage of the working session, the ministers received a briefing on the program of the Czech V4 Presidency starting on 1st July. It was said that the Czech Presidency wishes to focus on deepening the V4 co-operation, and on further developing the EU BG.

In respect of the Central European Defence Co-operation, all the participants agreed that currently the greatest challenge facing them is the preservation of the fragile peace in the Western Balkans, and the likelihood of an emerging migration crisis threatening from the South.

Photos of László Tóth