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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Concerns Eastern Europe the Most, Today...

can easily be discerned in the December 2016 joint statement made by heads of state of the V4 or 'Visegrad' Group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary). Clearly the Immigration crisis and threats to the sovereignty of the Ukraine are tops on their list.

Some excerpts:

Internal security agenda remains of crucial importance. Instruments enhancing citizens’ confidence in safe environment are of major importance. That is why Counter Terrorism Directive should be adopted and Passenger Name Record Directive implemented.
The Prime Ministers of the Visegrad countries underline their commitment to the strengthening of the Common Security and Defence Policy in line with the Council conclusions of 17 October and 14 November.
To respond to the deteriorating security environment, we must make the security of the EU, its Member States and citizens our top priority. Therefore, we call on the Member States to act responsibly and step up efforts to tackle the threats and challenges of the present day, notably hybrid and cyber threats or terrorism, in a coherent and effective way.
In line with the European Council Conclusions of December 2013 on security and defence, the Visegrad countries reiterate the need to enhance the effectiveness of the CSDP and the development and maintenance of Member States’ defense and security capabilities, supported by a more integrated, sustainable, innovative and competitive European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, with full participation of SMEs, which also contributes to jobs, growth and innovation across the EU and can enhance Europe’s strategic autonomy, strengthening its ability to act autonomously when and where necessary and with partners wherever possible.
The Prime Ministers of the Visegrad countries emphasize that close cooperation of the EU and NATO is a vital to enhance the Common Security and Defence Policy and the security of Europe. In this light, they welcome the progress on the implementation of the EU-NATO Joint Declaration which provides for measures to advance the practical cooperation of the two organisations. Avoiding unnecessary duplication and ensuring complementarity between the EU and NATO will guarantee that our resources and capabilities are used efficiently.
The Visegrad countries reiterate their support to the process of ratification of the Association Agreement with Ukraine and emphasize their will to look for a solution that will allow for a swift conclusion of this process by all Member States of the EU.
The Prime Ministers of the Visegrad countries reaffirmed the importance of the Association Agreement/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA) with Ukraine. It is an important element of the Eastern Partnership policy, which the Visegrad countries consider as a strategic dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

For background on the Visegrad group, click here.

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