Visegrad Four defense minister from Poland, Czechia, Hungary, and Slovakia reaffirmed their commitment to defending the interests of the European Union and NATO following a meeting in Elbląg.
“We are sensitive when it comes to threats concerning our entire community, the European Union and NATO. We are in agreement, that the 360 degrees strategy is the right point to work with,” said Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
Błaszczak emphasized that the command of the Multinational Division North East located in Elbląg is an important area of cooperation between V4 in terms of military defense.
Błaszczak added that the V4 was aware of threats from the East, but also the South such as the Western Balkans where the migration crisis has remained a major issue. The Visegrád Four countries are also aware of challenges coming from the North.
Polish defense minister explained that the talks between V4 defense ministers concerned preparations for fulfilling duties as part of the EU Battlegroup in 2023. This will be the Battlegroup’s third shift comprised of V4 states.
The ministers also discussed the most recent NATO summit in Brussels and agreed on their evaluation of the summit and the weight of the decisions made during it.
Hungarian presidency of the V4 will start on July 1
Hungarian Defense Minister Tibor Benkoe, on the other hand, declared that given the difficult pandemic situation, the Polish V4 presidency passed the test and has been highly evaluated.
He added that during Hungary’s presidency, which will start on July 1, the ongoing missions in the area of defense will be continued but that new challenges, risks and threats will appear. He noted that the world is currently fighting the pandemic and the military is an institution which supports civil institutions.
Benkoe stated that in addition to cooperating as part of the V4, the group’s member states also want to expand this cooperation into a V4 plus format.
“We want to stabilize and strengthen cooperation between our countries, but we’re also talking about Germany, France, the UK and the USA. We would like to gain their support and establish cooperation with other countries in the Southern region,” he said.
Slovakian minister Jaroslav Nad underlined that the Visegrád Four must be prepared for any kinds of alternatives when it concerns the military because the V4’s armed forces are important to its citizens.
Deputy Czech Minister of Defense Jan Havranek stressed that during the recent difficult period the Polish V4 presidency showed the unity and strength of the Central European region.
Title image: V4 defense minister during Elbląg summit, source: TT/MON