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Joint Statement


Adopted during the 11th meeting of chairmen of the Foreign affairs committees, defence and security committees and European Union affairs committees of the parliaments of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, Warsaw (21–22 June 2004)


On 1 May 2004, the European Union's enlargement to include10 new states became a reality, opening a new chapter in the history of Europe. We express the hope that the EU's future will be built in a spirit reflecting a belief in its nation's common fate, friendly co-operation and constructive partnership amongst all EU members. We welcome with satisfaction the results of the Intergovernmental Conference on the final text of the EU Constitutional Treaty adopted on 19 June 2004 in Brussels.
 
We, the chairmen of the foreign affairs committees, defence and security committees and European Union affairs committees of the national parliaments of the Višehrad Group (VG) states, gathered on 22 June 2004 in Warsaw at our 11th meeting, discussed such issues as: prospects of the VG's co-operation within the EU, the role of the VG states in creating the EU's Eastern Dimension and problems of importance in view of the approaching NATO summit in Istanbul.
 
1. We wish to note that the present meeting is of particular significance since VG parliamentarians were meeting for the first time as representatives of EU member-states.
 
2. We are in favour of maintaining and developing the hitherto positive achievements of the VG at the government and parliamentary levels in the spirit of the resolutions contained in the Declaration of prime ministers of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic regarding co-operation amongst the Višehrad Group states after their admission to the EU, signed in Kroměřiž on 12 May 2004.
 
3. The accession of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary to the EU necessitates deepening co-operation among our states. As representatives of the proper parliamentary committees of the VG states, we see the profound sense of collaborations among our countries in the European Parliamentary forum and other EU institutions.
 
4. We believe EU enlargement will foster the principal goal of the Lisbon strategy—the transformation of the European economy into the world's most competitive. We are persuaded that—in the field of migration—the experience of the first two years will prove that maintaining any obstacles to the free movement of labour is unnecessary.
 
5. The months ahead will be of extremely great significance to the shape and priorities of the EU's future financial perspective. In our view, an especially important issue, which should be taken into account as part of the Financial Perspective for 2007-2013, is the implementation of tasks pertaining to cohesion policy. Spending in that field-in accordance with Lisbon strategy criteria-should make it possible for all countries whose development level is below the EU average to make progress in achieving real convergence.
 
6. We express our support for VG co-operation in the area of research and development which are gaining in significance in the EU as a result of the urgent need to improve our competitiveness in the world. We therefore feel it is absolutely necessary to develop a strategy of joint VG efforts in that area in the EU arena. We should above all strive to have the principles of participation in Framework Programmes simplified and to ensure that scientists from the new member-states are represented in the research groups and consortia requesting supplementary EU financing. That would exert a positive influence on their integration in the realm of EU research and its instruments and, in the long run, would improve Europe's competitiveness.
 
7. We express the conviction that the national parliaments of the VG states should support new candidates, sharing their experiences in political transformation in the process of moving towards EU membership, whilst acting within the EU to promote better understanding of the needs of states aspiring to membership of that organisation.
 
8. We are convinced that relations with the states of Eastern Europe, especially with Ukraine, will be of fundamental importance to the security, development and future not only of EU regions neighbouring Eastern Europe but also for the EU as a whole. Co-operation within the EU Eastern Dimension will make it possible to influence more effectively the process of the Eastern European states' drawing closer to the EU standards.
 
We hold in high esteem the European Commission's initiative to put into place a special financial instrument for the Eastern European states neighbouring the enlarged EU to support the policies being conducted by those countries.
 
In our view, one of the most important elements of EU policy towards Eastern Europe is to support changes leading to the emergence of a democratic system and an efficiently functioning market economy in Belarus.
 
9. In that connection, we have noted with interest the Declaration adopted in Vilnius on 30 April 2004 during the conference The enlarged EU and broader Europe calling for the creation of a parliamentary forum for representatives of the European Union, the European Economic Area and the countries of Eastern Europe.
 
10. To us a source of particular satisfaction is the fact that NATO's Istanbul summit is taking place during the historic moment of the 'great enlargement', when all the Višehrad Group states are full members of NATO and the EU. We wish to emphasise that, from our perspective, the most important thing is to develop existing NATO-EU co-operation and further expand it into new areas.
 
11. The progress achieved in recent months in NATO-EU relations, including co-operation in the Balkans, should, in our view, be suitably emphasised during discussions at the North Atlantic Alliance's summit in Istanbul.
 
12. We believe NATO, while welcoming new allies, should consider continuing its 'open door' policy. We hope the forthcoming Istanbul summit sends a clear message both to states participating in the Plan of Activities for Membership as well as to those aspiring to be included in that mechanism and those that may do in future. We are convinced that, in addition to enlargement, of fundamental significance to NATO is that organisation's co-operation with partner-states, the strengthening of co-operation within the Mediterranean Dialogue and establishing relations with the countries of the Middle East.
 
13. We should also like the discussion in Istanbul to encompass the state and prospects of the Alliance's co-operation with Russia and Ukraine. Recognising that NATO-Russian co-operation is proceeding in the right direction, it should be stressed that there is always room for it to be strengthened in practice. We have accepted with satisfaction the decision to conduct a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission during the summit according to a heads of state/chiefs of government formula. That should provide an occasion to deepen NATO's co-operation with Ukraine.
 
14. While acknowledging the weight and significance for the Alliance of the success of operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, we simultaneously emphasise the need to discuss at the summit the situation in Iraq and possible options of increasing NATO's role in stabilising the situation in that region.
 
15. We express the hope that the approaching Istanbul summit will provide an opportunity to sum up the implementation of decisions taken at the previous Prague summit with regards to the Alliance's military capabilities (Prague Capability Commitment), the command structures, and the creation of a swift reaction force (NATO Response Force) on the basis of, among other things the experience gained in the course of the operations it has carried out to date.
 
16. It is our conviction that the Istanbul summit should also affirm NATO's role in the international war of terrorism. The Alliance's potential, including the involvement of states under the Partnership for Peace programme, should be utilised as effectively as possible to combat that threat to our security.

Warsaw, 22 June 2004

Jiří Skalický
Chairman
Committee on European Union Affairs
Senate of the Czech Republic
Jaroslav Zvěřina
Deputy Chairman
Committee on European Union Affairs
Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic
 
Josef Zoser
Deputy Chairman
Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security
Senate of the Czech Republic
 
 
Mihály Balla
Chairman
Committee on Foreign Affairs
National Assembly of the Republic of Hungary
Richárd Hőrcsik
Deputy Chairman
European Integration Committee
National Assembly of the Republic of Hungary
 
Pavol Kubovič
Deputy Chairman
Foreign Affairs Committee
National Council of the Slovak Republic
Rudolf Žiak
Member
European Integration Committee
National Council of the Slovak Republic
 
Jan Chaładaj
Deputy Chairman
Foreign Affairs Committee
Sejm of the Republic of Poland
Stanisław Janas
Chairman
National Defence Committee
Sejm of the Republic of Poland
 
Jerzy Czepułkowski
Chairman
European Committee
Sejm of the Republic of Poland
Zbigniew Kulak
Deputy Chairman
Foreign Affairs Committee
Senate of the Republic of Poland
 
Wiesław Pietrzak
Chairman
National Defence and Public Security Committee
Senate of the Republic of Poland
Zygmunt Cybulski
Chairman
European Union Affairs Committee
Senate of the Republic of Poland

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