V4 unanimous on EU financial framework - PM

V4 unanimous on EU financial framework Andrzej Lange/PAP

The Visegrad Group (V4, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia - PAP) are fully unanimous with regard to the structure of the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework, PM Mateusz Morawiecki said after Thursday's meeting of V4 prime ministers in Prague.

The talks between Morawiecki and Hungarian, Czech and Slovak PMs Viktor Orban, Andrej Babis and Peter Pellegrini were later also attended by the prime ministers of Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At a subsequent press conference with the three remaining V4 prime ministers, Morawiecki observed that the V4 states had managed to secure several high EU posts for their representatives in wake of the recent reshuffle in the EU leadership. In this context he reminded about Poland's chances for the Agricultural Commission chair, Hungary's for the EC's Commission for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and Czech and Slovak candidates for EC Vice-Presidents.

Morawiecki stressed that this success would not have been possible if the V4 countries had not worked together, and observed that now the V4 group was playing "a key role" in the distribution of EU executive posts.

Recounting the V4 talks, Morawiecki said they mainly concerned the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework, and stressed that all of the V4 members were unanimous in the matter. He especially emphasised the importance of adequate agricultural and structural funding, observing that this was of crucial importance to the entire European continent.

"All the Visegrad countries are speaking with absolutely one voice regarding the structure of the Multiannual Financial Framework, the way in which structural and agricultural policy should be financed. We don't want to impair but raise food safety in Europe, this is why agricultural policy must be adequately funded," Morawiecki said, adding that the V4 states planned to "work together shoulder to shoulder to ensure this financing."

With regard to structural funding, Morawiecki reminded that the construction of new roads, energy links, railways and IT infrastructure was of primary importance for the development of the entire European continent. He also informed that a meeting of a so-called Friends of Cohesion Policy Group, formed by states supporting a raised cohesion budget in the EU's currently prepared 2014-2020 budget, was scheduled on November 12 in Prague.

Morawiecki said that the V4 members agreed on the need to seek new financing sources for the EU budget, among others by means of a digital tax. These new sources, he stressed, would ensure funding in fields like innovation or defence policy.

Commenting on the V4 PMs' climate policy talks, Morawiecki stressed that the V4 countries based their position in the matter on conclusions forwarded by the European Council. With regard to Poland's coal-fuelled economy, he reminded that Poland was unable to construct a different energy system after World War Two and today was obliged to ensure energy security to its population.

In this context Babis appealed for the recognition of nuclear power as clean energy, Pellegrini said that more heed should be paid to the individual energy specifics of the EU countries.

Speaking on the talks with the Western Balkan PMs, Morawiecki reminded that the session continued the so-called Berlin Process held several months earlier in the west-Polish city of Poznan. Morawiecki emphasised that the V4 members strongly supported the EU integration of the Western Balkan countries and considered it an important security mainstay for the whole continent.

Asked about Poland's stance on migration, Morawiecki said Warsaw "did not agree to the distribution of migrants according to a Brussels key," and stressed that the V4 group was actively involved in measures to improve conditions in migration-generating regions of the Middle East.

In a joint declaration after the Prague talks, the V4 and the Western Balkan countries stated their support for the Western Balkan states' EU integration, and stressed that EU enlargement was an effective means to ensure safety, stability and growth.