During the Meeting of the Visegrad Group that began on Friday in Sopot, the Presidents of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia discussed cooperation within the European Union. The Presidents also paid homage to the Polish soldiers from Westerplatte and they laid flowers at the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers.
The two-day Meeting in Grand Hotel in Sopot was devoted to the economic crisis, energy cooperation and further enlargement of the EU and NATO.
During the Friday plenary session, the President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, the President of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, the President of Hungary, László Sólyom, and the President of Slovakia, Ivan Gašparovič, assessed among other matters the cooperation to date of the countries of the Visegrad Group within the European Union.
"It has been emphasised that this cooperation is valuable and its role increases, e.g. as regards solidarity in energy and climate matters," said Mariusz Handzlik, the Undersecretary of State in the Chancellery of the President responsible for foreign policy.
"The issue of enlarging the European Union by the western Balkan countries, as well as by the countries from the eastern part of Europe, i.e. Ukraine and further into the future maybe even by Georgia, was also discussed," the presidential minister added.
After the session, the presidential couples (the President of Hungary arrived without his wife) departed on a Polish Navy ship from the Sopot pier to the Gdańsk Bay. During the journey, while passing Westerplatte, the Polish soldiers from Westerplatte were honoured by the sound of a whistle, according to a marine ceremony. Afterwards, the ship sailed up Motława to Gdańsk.
In Gdańsk, the Presidents of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia laid flowers at the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers.
At that time the wives of the Presidents, Maria Kaczyńska, Livia Klausová and Silvia Gašparovičová, strolled along Mariacka Street, one of the most beautiful streets in the Old Town of Gdańsk, and visited the National Museum. A concert in the Oliwa Cathedral was planned for the evening, followed by an official dinner in the Oliwski Manor, organised by the President and his wife in honour of the guests.
The ceremony of welcoming the Presidents of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary by Lech Kaczyński, without speeches, took place in the morning in front of the museum ship ORP "Błyskawica," moored at the Kościuszko Square in Gdynia. The Navy Orchestra first played "Mazurek Dąbrowskiego" and then the anthems of the other countries. Afterwards, the Presidents visited the ship.
On the second day of the summit in Sopot within the Meeting of the Presidents of the Visegrad Group, the Presidents of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia participated in a plenary session, followed by a meeting with representatives of the media. The session was preceded by bilateral meetings of delegations.
Today, at the invitation of Lech Kaczyński, the President of Slovenia, Danilo Türk, joined the Meeting of the Visegrad Group and he will stay in the Presidential facility on Hel until Sunday.
While discussing the Meeting of the Presidents of the Visegrad Group, Lech Kaczyński said that the talks had concerned, among other matters, energy security, as well as the Treaty of Lisbon and the potential changes that will take place in the countries of the European Union should the Treaty become effective.
As the Polish President explained, during the talks they had considered a future formation of one consular service for the Visegrad states in selected countries.
"Our meeting and talks were very factual and our stands were practically unanimous," said the President of Slovakia.
The President of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, expressed a similar opinion, "I regard our meetings as necessary, productive and successful. They formed a considerable contribution to our mutual understanding," he said.
Klaus added that the next meeting of the Presidents of the Visegrad Group would take place in the Czech Republic in Karlovy Vary in the first half of 2010.
The "excellent cooperation" within the Visegrad Group was also mentioned by the President of Hungary László Sólyom. "We focused to a great degree on the Treaty of Lisbon. I am very glad that the President of Slovenia participated in our session, as he introduced new and fresh ideas. It has been very useful," he added.