2 months ago
Remix: At first glance, the Visegrád cooperation seems like a natural alliance. Does it look the same from the inside as well?
Menczer: Absolutely. The Visegrád cooperation has never been so tight and has never functioned better than it does today. There have been and still are attempts at breaking up our unity, but as the saying goes: he whose death has been announced will live long.
The leaders of the V4 countries have a sound way of thinking. They are able to recognize the interest of their respective citizens, as well as the threats and challenges facing their countries, and they are willing to do something about it. For the first time, the European elections have a common topic: migration. In this respect, the position of the V4 countries has been unified and unalterable. Firstly, we see migration as a negative and dangerous process, which should be stopped. Secondly, in our standpoint, border protection should remain within national competence. Thirdly, hotspots should be established outside of Europe. Additionally, it has also been proven that illegal migration brings serious cultural differences to the surface by creating parallel societies. This contributes to the increase of crime rates and increases the risk of terrorism. These are the reasons why we want to stop migration.
Remix: With the Slovak V4 presidency coming to an end, what was the most significant economic achievement of this past year?
Menczer: The most important aspect is that the V4 cooperation is the engine of the European economic growth, which is well above the EU average. Trade between the V4 countries and Germany is about 55 percent higher than French-German trade. In Hungary, economic growth in 2018 was around five percent and our continuing goal is to exceed the EU average by at least two percent. In addition to this, we have the lowest corporate income taxes in the European Union. In the case of investments, it is of utmost importance that today Hungary is the safest country in Europe, and economic and physical security is provided for investors who choose Hungary.
Visegrád Castle, site of the 1335 Visegrád summit between John I of Bohemia, Charles I of Hungary and Casimir III of Poland
Remix: Staying with the economy: the regional high-speed rail is perhaps the largest single project that will have a direct impact on everyday life. Where does it stand now?
Menczer: This is a very important project indeed. If we look at the map of Europe, we see that the East-West infrastructure connections already exist, but the North-South links are seriously lacking. That is why the Budapest-Warsaw high-speed railway going through the V4 countries is so important, both for business and for tourism. The political decisions have been made, and currently each government is conducting its respective feasibility studies.
Remix: And what would you say was the most noteworthy political achievement of the group?
Menczer: First, I would highlight the strong and unified position of the group. Obviously, our individual voices would be weaker than they are together. Our voices carry an additional weight because it has been proven that we are right on several issues, such as migration or the economy. The future of Europe is at stake now. The continent is clearly divided along these lines. Supporters of migration and who portray themselves as progressives would like to bring about a post-national, post-Christian era in Europe. It would seem they are ‘so progressive’, that they have surpassed basic values such as security and border protection. They are even willing to support mass migration and the population exchange of the continents and countries.
In contrast, we, the V4 countries, treasure our traditions, cultural heritage and our Christian roots. Our firm conviction is that Europe will only become strong and competitive again if it is based on strong member states.
Remix: How much does the political color of the governments at any given time impact the level of cooperation within the group?
Menczer: This is an interesting question because the governing parties in these countries belong to different party families within the European Parliament. Mere formal logic would say that because of this, there is discord and this cooperation is not without its abrasions. However, this is not the case. We recognize our common interests and values, so we have full consensus on all crucial issues because common sense supersedes party affiliations. These governments and their leaders recognize the interests of their individual countries and of the V4. Security of country and continent is not based upon party affiliation but on common sense.
Remix: Shortly after the EU elections, the Czech Republic will take over the rotating presidency of the V4. What would Hungary like to have on the agenda during their presidency?
Menczer: Let us not get ahead of ourselves. We are facing a decisive European Parliamentary election. The European people finally have the chance to express their opinion on the future, on migration. This is a decision that will shape the continent, which will be passed on to our children and grandchildren.
Recently, we have seen in national elections that parties that listen to people and say no to migration have gained strength. The pro-migration EU bureaucrats living in their ivory tower have completely lost touch with reality.
The most important task of the V4 leader will be the same as before: listen to the people who elected them. Therefore, the safety of the Hungarian people is and will be the top priority for the Hungarian Government.
Title image: Tamás Menczer State Secretary for Information and International Representation of Hungary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.