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International Visegrad Fund

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25 Years of the V4 as Seen by the Public



VISEGRAD BULLETIN 9 (2/2018)

December 14th, 2018

REVIEW OF MAJOR EVENTS UNDER THE SLOVAK PRESIDENCY OF THE VISEGRAD GROUP, July 2018 – December 2018


Expert Meeting of the V4+4 responsible for Cohesion policy post 2020, Bratislava, 3-4 July 2018

Deputy Prime Minister’s Office organised the Kick-off Meeting in Bratislava on 3-4 July under the SKV4PRES dedicated to EU Cohesion policy post2020. V4 plus Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia experts discussed the future of the policy with the participation of international academic involving students of ERSA organisation.

 

V4 Expert Conference on the Medicines Policy, 11 July 2018

The Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic hosted the V4 Expert Conference on the Medicines Policy on 11 July 2018. The conference was dedicated to the first meeting of the Working group on the Medicines Policy. Visegrad group experts identified reasons of medicines shortages and debated their attitude towards the proposal of EU Regulation on HTA (health technology assessment). The discussions were also concentrating on system differences of V4 countries in the sphere of medicines policy, and possible solutions to common problems.


V4 Conference on Transport financing 2021 – 2027, 12 July 2018, Bratislava

In line with the V4 presidency, a conference on the future of transport financing the upcoming financial perspective has been organized by the SK Ministry of Transport. The goal of the conference was to facilitate discussion between the cohesion member states on challenges lying ahead. Among the most important issues raised were the co-financing rates, eligibility periods as well as the availability of the EU funding in terms of TEN-T core completion until 2030. The participants were experts both in the fields of operational programs and Connecting Europe Facility, therefore it allowed a complex view on public investments in the field of transport.The outcome of the conference was a Joint Declaration of the V4 Ministers, which has been presented to Commission and the Council.

V4 Expert Conference on the Human Capacities, 12 July 2018

The V4 Expert Conference on the Human Capacities took place on 12 July 2018 at the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic. The first meeting of the Working group on the Human Capacities focused on exchange of information, cases of good practices and experience with training and managing of human sources especially in the deficient health professions as doctors and nurses. Additionally, V4 experts debated administrative instruments and policies aimed at increase of numbers of professionals in the health care sector.

V4+ expert preparatory meeting “Regional specifics of fighting tuberculosis”, 16 July 2018

On 16 July 2018, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Stanislav Špánik, opened the V4 expert preparatory meeting „Regional specifics of fighting tuberculosis“, which took place in Bratislava. Consequently, Visegrad group experts discussed whether there are any specific regional needs to end tuberculosis. The meeting was dedicated to following topics: new medicine, vaccine and assess to therapy; specific needs of vulnerable populations in our region; harmonisation of recommendation in compulsory isolation by TB patients; research in TB; and extrapulmonary tuberculosis. The importance of multisectoral actions of the V4 region was highlighted as well as addressing the social and economic determinants of the disease.

Generational Change in Family Businesses, 16 – 17 July 2018, Bratislava

Private family enterprises in V4 countries were formed only after the year 1989. Almost three decades later, the owners and business leaders are about to retire, facing the choice to either continue with the business and risk losing competitiveness, transfer the company to the next generation or sell it. The Slovak Presidency therefore decided to place the topic of generational transition to the agenda of Visegrad group, with the aim to find a sustainable solution by sharing best practices among the V4 countries and finding areas for future cooperation. V4 State Secretaries for Economy have analyzed the urgent need to tackle the question of generational change in V4 economies. As this is the first time V4 economies are facing this challenge, policy makers can learn from laws, regulations and programs adopted in their neighboring countries. Given that family businesses in V4 countries share many similar characteristics, countries can not only learn from each other by sharing best practices, but also develop joint initiatives and programs.

 

Visegrad group (V4) Expert meeting on Postal services focusing on Universal service and its expected development 8–9. November 2018, Bratislava

On the behalf of Slovak V4 Presidency, delegates from each V4 country as well as experts from European Commission and PostEurop met in Bratislava to discuss the future development of universal service. The core information was about the universal service in each country and its expected development and future trends in the medium-term horizont. All participants presented and discussed the current situation of universal service and expected evolution in the following years, including difficulties and also a potential necessities to amend the postal directive. Partners have agreed on more intense cooperation.


Meeting of the Agriculture Ministers of the V4+4 (Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia) - 15th – 16th August 2018, Oponice, Slovakia

The first meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Visegrad group (CZ, HU, PL and SK) and Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia within the Slovak presidency in the Visegrad group took place in Oponice, Slovakia on the 15-16th August 2018. The discussion was held on the 15th August 2018 and on the 16th August 2018; the delegations attended the ceremonial opening of the 45th International Agricultural and Food Fair Agrokomplex 2018. The agenda of the meeting on the 15th August 2018 was focused on 3 topics, namely: 1) the legislative package of the CAP post 2020, 2) strategic priorities of the BIOEAST Initiative and 3) the proposed directive on unfair trading practices on the food supply chain. Based on the outcome of the discussion the heads of delegations signed a Common position of the Agriculture Ministers of the Visegrad group and Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia on the proposed Directive on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain.

 

V4 Expert Skype Conference: Working group on Health Policy Cooperation, 7 September 2018

The Institute of Health Policies led the first teleconference of V4 Working group on Health Policy Cooperation. Visegrad experts on health information exchanged know-how about the following topics: central public procurement, benchmarking of prices of purchases, infrastructural projects and network of providers.

The international conference titled “Evaluation of EU Funds – Are we able to learn a lesson?” 13 September 2018

The Conference was held under the auspices of Mr Richard Raši, Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatization of the SR within the framework of the SK V4 PRES on 13 September 2018. The conference was intended to assess and present results of the 2007 – 2013 programming period. One of the topics was a view of how to use recommendations and a view of possibilities to learn a lesson in the current 2014 – 2020 programming period. The conference also offered a floor for a meeting of those who were interested in exchanging experience when searching for the best solutions and approaches of using the results of evaluations of the EU funds which also contribute to the long-term prosperity of Slovakia.

 

International conference „Municipal V4: SMART Agenda for Quality and Modernization“

Was organizedby Association of Towns and Communities of Slovakia within the national project „Modernization of Local Self-government“ supported by European social fund, operational programme Effective public administration on 18. -19. September 2018 in the Hotel & Spa Resort Kaskády, Sliač – Sielnica. The aim of the conference: Presentation of attitudes to selected topics, which significantly affect the activities of local self-government and their perception in terms of the Slovak Republic, considering the V4 context.


23th Meeting of the Mid European Group on Biocides, 20.-21. September 2018, Bratislava

Biocidal products are necessary for the control of organisms that are harmful to human or animal health and for the control of organisms that cause damage to natural or manufactured materials. However, biocidal products can pose risks to humans, animals and the environment due to their intrinsic properties and associated use patterns. The EU law on biocides is underpinned by the precautionary principle, the aim of which is to safeguard the health of humans, the health of animals and the environment. The priority of the Mid European Group on Biocides is to strengthen the exchange of expert and legal information among the Mid European Member States since they face similar geographical and climate conditions, and the same occurrence of harmful organisms combated by biocides. Representatives from competent authorities on biocides and from their associated expert bodies from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia discussed the problems they are facing in the field of application of EU legislation on biocides and in performing expertise aimed to evaluation of biocidal products and biocidal active substances. The Slovak Industry in the field of biocides attended the open session of the meeting and took advantage of the presence of the competent authorities´ representatives from by vis-à-vis discussing points of their interest.


V4 – Canada High-level consultations, 28 September 2018, New York

The meeting of V4 Political Directors and their Canadian counterpart M. Gwozdecky took place on 28 September 2018 on the margins of the 73rd UNGA in New York. The discussion focused on US, Russia, China, Ukraine, the Western Balkans, the current EU affairs, defense and multilateralism. The 2018 annual political consultations between Canada and the Visegrád Group members provided an opportunity for an exchange views on pressing regional and global issues and strengthened mutual Canada-V4 relations.

 

V4 Scientific Conference on Public Procurement, 2 October 2018

On 2 October 2018 the Office for Public Procurement in cooperation with the Faculty of Law of the Comenius University in Bratislava organized a scientific conference that was aimed at the expert public. This was the first activity of the Office for Public Procurement within the ongoing Slovak Visegrád Group Presidency. The expert representatives of the Office for Public Procurement as well as from the NGO sector and from Visegrád Group partner authorities presented their stances to selected topics and debated on them with present representatives of the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Ms. Irmfried Schwimann and Mr. David Blanchard. The conference covered in total two topics. It focused on Direct Negotiation Procedure and on the concept Value for Money. Mr. Miroslav Hlivák, the Chairman of the Office for Public Procurement, emphasized that direct negotiation procedure that takes place for instance in case of procuring of IT systems for public administration is a widespread problem all over the EU countries. He underlined his position that this approach to public procurement is legitimate mostly in cases when there is one IT provider only. Mr. Hlivák also noted that the principle value for money of directly related to public procurement. The contracting authorities should not only focus on what they procure, but they should also take into account the real value of the resources spent in the public interest.

 

Informal working meeting of Speakers of the V4 Parliaments, 12-13 October 2018, Košice

Kick-off event of parliamentary dimension of the Slovak V4 Presidency outlined a schedule of planned activities to be undertaken by the National Council of the Slovak Republic. V4 parliamentary leaders brainstormed how to make benefit of the enlarged V4 + format on level of national legislative assemblies. They also exchanged their views on perspectives of the common EU migration policies and their security related aspects. Discussion also featured opportunities for strengthening of the V4 inter-parliamentary cooperation within Central European region. It underlined support for the trans-border cooperation (energy and transport infrastructure, tourism) and at last, but not least engagement of parliamentary administrations in common assistance and development projects vis-a-vis third countries (democracy and good governance, legislative transparency, capacities building and sharing best practices).

 

International conference on the “Risk Valuation and Risk Management Tools in the Agri-Food Sector”, 17 – 18 October 2018

In the context of the Commissions new proposal for the CAP after 2020, an International conference on the “Risk Valuation and Risk Management Tools in the Agri-Food Sector” focusing on the important topic of risk management in agriculture, was held in Bratislava on the 17th and 18th October 2018. The Conference was divided in two parts, scientific and strategic part. During the strategic ministerial part, held on 18th October, V4 Ministers of Agriculture met with Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development and Frank van Tongeren, high level OECD representative to discuss effective measures in the field of risk management and risk elimination in agri-food sector. At the end of the strategic meeting, all participating delegations adopted the Political conclusions on “Risk Valuation and Risk Management Tools in the Agri-Food Sector“.


Rings in Water 2018 – The 10th Competition for Crafts-oriented Design

This tenth biennial event organised by ÚĽUV has confirmed that Rings in Water has already been adopted, not only by schools and designers, but also by the lay public which is beginning to notice it. The partners of the competition were Moravian Gallery in Brno (Czech Republic), Cepelia Foundation (Poland), Hagyományok Háza (Hungary) and Cieszyn Castle (Poland).

The long-term objective of the competition is to seek out, present and support students as well as established designers, architects, artists and craftsmen in various fields of production. The event highlights areas where folk tradition, natural materials and traditional craft techniques overlap with the current needs of contemporary design.

The opening ceremony took place in ÚĽUV on 18th October 2018 with approximately 120 participants including special guest representing the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Konrád Rigó.

 

Annual conference on innovative standard diagnostic and standard the therapeutical guidelines, 18-19 October 2018, Bratislava

The preparation of standard diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (SDTP) was the main topic of the 2nd Annual Interdisciplinary Conference, which took place in Bratislava on 18-19 October 2018. The MoH of Slovak Republic has been intensively working on standard procedures for individual medical and non-medical departments as well as interdisciplinary areas since September 2017. The expert working groups have so far produced and evaluated 152 standard procedures, which are in the process of finalization and preparation for implementing to practice. A total of 19 standards are currently ready for implementation, from the Department of Psychiatry, Nursing or Radiation Oncology. Uniform system of patient management, diagnostics and subsequent treatment is successfull in the Scandinavian countries, Australia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, but also in neighboring Austria, and is currently introduced into the healthcare and interdisciplinary departments in the Czech Republic and Hungary.


Environmental ministerial meeting of the V4 + Bulgaria and Romania, Bratislava, 22 October 2018

The very first environmental meeting during Slovak presidency of the V4 took place in the premises of Old National Council and was hosted by State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic Mr. Norbert Kurilla. The main topics of the morning discussion were focused on state and future steps to be taken regarding the implementation of clean air and climate change measures, with most resonating discussion on air quality, national air pollution control program, cross-sectoral cooperation in achieving air quality objectives, fuel poverty aspect in determining air quality improvement measures and climate change debate (the Talanoa dialogue). The roundtable informed about the state of implementation of measures, national activities and strategies and, in particular, the challenges they face in relation to the implementation of the necessary measures, with the ultime necessity to involve the private and public sectors in these activities. Participants in their discussion also accented that without close cooperation between several sectors, especially agriculture, transport and energy, it would be difficult and almost unrealistic to achieve successful results. One of the key investments remains the area of research and innovation. Among the most important measures will be the creation of long-term strategies, which must have a clear vision and strong political support.

The participants of the morning session were then invited to join the 25th meeting of the OECD Green Action Task Force, held historically for the first time in a country of Central Europe, a fact that is important because of its historical background, the very first meeting was launched in the early nineties by the then Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. The Bratislava meeting focused on two main themes - a sustainable energy sector and green financing in a high-level panel discussion, with such main speakers as the Vice-President of the European Commission for the Energy Union Mr. Maros Sevcovic and Vice-President of the European Investment Bank Mr. Vazil Hudak, UN ECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova and Director of the OECD Directorate for Environment Mr. Rodolfo Lacy.

Meeting of the V4 Ministers of Health, 22.-23 October 2018, Štrbské Pleso

Minister of Health of the Slovak Republic, Mrs. Andrea Kalavská, hosted the Meeting of the V4 Ministers of Health, held on 22-23 October 2018 in Štrbské Pleso. The informal meeting was dedicated to two topics: Human Resources and Medicines Policy. Firstly, the ministers discussed the issue of supplementing the missing medical staff, which represents a long-term problem in the whole Visegrad region. Delegations introduced administrative measures and solutions aimed at increase of numbers of professionals in the health care sector. Secondly, ministers identified the reasons of medicines shortages, debated their attitude towards the proposal for an EU Regulation on HTA (health technology assessment) and discussed framework of possible cooperation.


Meeting of V4+4 Ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy, 24 October 2018

Ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy of the V4 + and the Commissioner Corina Cretu met in Bratislava on 24th October 2018, to convey and agree on key priorities stemming from the legislative proposals for the Cohesion Policy beyond 2020. The meeting was hosted by Deputy Prime Minister of the SR for Investments and Informatization, Richard Raši. The Joint Statement which was the result of intense discussions of V4+ countries was agreed by V4 ministers and supported by Bulgaria and Croatia.


Scientific workshop – Guidelines in Prevention 2018, Bratislava, 26 October 2018

Prevention Guidelines and Procedures were the central theme discussed by experts at the Scientific Workshop held on October 26, 2018 at the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic. At the same time, the organizers presented the project "Creation of New and Innovative Procedures for Prevention and their Implementation into Medical Practice". Experts discussed Standards and Recommended Guidelines for Prevention in the areas of infectious, oncological, cardiovascular, endocrinological and metabolic, neurodegenerative, psychiatric and pulmonary diseases. Effective screening programs, their deployment, maintenance, evaluation and management were also important topics of the workshop.

 

V4+ Gas Round Table – 29th October 2018, Brussels

V4 Gas Roundtable, which took place on 29th October 2018 in Brussels, provided a constructive discussion about the future role of natural gas in the region of Central and South Eastern Europe. It provided a possibility for representatives of transmission system operators and stakeholders in the gas sector from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, as well as future Presidency of the EU Council – Romania, to directly engage in dialogue with the European Commission, which is currently preparing the basics of the future design of the EU gas market. Speakers highlighted the role of gas in the energy sector, its flexibility and potential to help the deployment of renewable energy sources and its importance for the region. However, some challenges in the region need to be addressed, in particular with regards to energy security and opening of gas markets. The V4 Presidency will continue the dialogue on the reform of the gas market and hopes that its activities will help to shape our future policy in the field of gas.


V4 National Contact points meeting on “Migration Crisis Response Mechanism“, Štrbské Pleso

MCRM aims to find effective solutions for better management of migration and just asylum system through V4 joint actions. It is based on three headings: intra-European cooperation, information sharing and external dimension. At the meeting organized by the Migration Office of the MoI, there was room for discussion on the latest developments regarding migration and asylum issues in the V4 countries. Discussions on the individual pillars of the project, their current status and the possibilities of their further direction and development followed.


Consultations of V4 Political Directors in Skopje, 7 November 2018, Skopje

During the consultations of V4 Political Directors held in Skopje on 7 November 2018, the V4 Political Directors met with G. Cekov, Director for bilateral relations with European countries at the MFA, State Secretary V. Dimovski and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence R. Sekerinska. The discussion focused on the domestic situation in fYRoM in the context of the referendum results, EU and NATO integration, CFSP including Russia, migration and relations with neighbours.


The conference "Strengthening synergies and complementarities between ESI Funds and directly managed funds", Bratislava, 8 November 2018

The conference organised by Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatization was held in Bratislava on 8 November 2018 . Participants of the conference, including the representatives of the EC, V4 + 4 countries and representatives of directly managed programs in Slovakia, agreed on the need for more efficient use of directly managed programs and closer coordination of directly managed programs and ESI Funds.

 

Visegrad group (V4) Expert meeting on Postal services focusing on Universal service and its expected development 8–9. 11. 2018, Bratislava

On the behalf of Slovak V4 Presidency, delegates from each V4 country as well as experts from European Commission and PostEurop met in Bratislava to discuss the future development of universal service. The core information was about the universal service in each country and its expected development and future trends in the medium-term horizont. All participants presented and discussed the current situation of universal service and expected evolution in the following years, including difficulties and also a potential necessities to amend the postal directive. Partners have agreed on more intense cooperation.

 

International Drug Event V4+ “Drugs and addiction, integrated view. Meeting of Experts on Methamphetamine”, 13-14 November 2018, Bratislava

On 13 – 14 November 2018, under the auspices of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic, the International Drug Event V4+ "Drugs and Addiction, Integrated View, Meeting of Experts on Methamphetamine" was held in Bratislava. This is the first time that problem with drugs (methamphetamine) was highlighted by the Slovak Ministry of Health in the framework of the Slovak Presidency of the Visegrad Group. Participants had opportunity to get to know the latest information on the methamphetamine situation in the V4+ countries - supply reduction, law enforcement measures (precursors), production of methamphetamine, distribution and seizures, international cooperation as well as monitoring of illegal drugs in Slovak waste waters.

 

Meeting of Speakers of the V4+DE+FR Parliaments, 15 November 2018, Bratislava

Event hosted by the National Council of the Slovak Republic welcomed parliamentary leaders from four Visegrad countries as well as guests of honour – President of the German Bundestag W. Schäuble, President of the French National Assembly R. Ferrand and representatives of the French Senate. The event was accompanied by a commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the World War 1 Armistice. Agenda of the meeting featured above all future of the European Union, with an interactive exchange on views related to its values, institutions and common policies. Discussion offered a reflection on the forthcoming 2019 European Parliament elections and stressed the role of national parliaments within the EU decision-making processes. It also underlined common motion to advance further interaction among EU member States concerning topics of common interest (digital economy, social Europe, cohesion, security and defence) that dispose of capacity to encourage mutual trust and bridge dividing lines.

V4 meeting of Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs refused indexation of family benefits - Bratislava, 15 November 2018

Labour and Social Affairs Ministers and State Secretaries of the V4 group held discussions on the hot topic of indexation of family benefits in the EU on 15th November 2018. The special session was summoned by the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family Mr. Jan Richter in a reaction to Austria's recently adopted piece of legislation on the theme. It introduces indexation of family benefits provided to the children of EU citizens who work in Austria, but whose children reside outside of the territory of Austria, entering to force on January 1st, 2019. The V4 representatives were unanimous in that the said piece of legislation infringes EU law as well as its principle of equal treatment. Ministers of the Visegrad Group Countries, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovenia signed a letter addressed to the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Ms. Marianne Thyssen. They request the Commissioner to examine the Austrian legal act introducing the indexation of family benefits.


V4 Panel at the Central European Energy Conference (CEEC), 19th November 2018, Bratislava

V4 energy ministers had the opportunity to discuss with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič the current state of the transformation of the energy sector, state of play of the Energy Union, reached achievements and the main challenges in front of which the Energy Union stands. Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic Peter Žiga pointed out the potential of the Energy Union to create a platform for a common European strategy for the transformation of the energy sector for the period until 2030, underlining the climatic and energy synergy as the basic principle of the Energy Union. With regard to the energy package, V4 Ministers emphasized the energy security aspect, which is also one of the key pillars of our energy policy. In addition, the role of nuclear energy was highlighted as an integral part of the European low carbon energy concept.

 

V4 energy ministerial working lunch with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Bratislava

The topic of the V4 energy ministerial working lunch with Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Energy Union, was “Main challenges within implementation of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package and ways how to reach 2030 targets”. The V4 countries discussed specific steps, "bottlenecks" and other challenges V4 countries face. The focus of the discussion was oriented also on new technologies, the development of renewable energy sources, including electromobility. V4 energy ministers agreed together to promote nuclear power in the energy mix portfolio and also underlined that nuclear power is a stabilizing element in the context of the deployment of variable renewable resources.

 

V4+ Expert meeting Integrated national climate and energy planes, 20th November 2018, Bratislava

The V4 countries + Austria experts involved in preparation of the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP) met together to discuss preparation of draft of the NECPs. The draft of the NECPs shall be submitted to the Commission by every Member State until 31st December 2018. The partners comprehensively discussed the NECPs – renewable energy sources, climate issues, energy efficiency, internal energy market and energy security. Participants exchanged their experiences from the process of creation the draft of the NECPs and possible solutions for some problems. Discussion helped each involved country in further work on the NECPs draft. The meeting of neighbouring countries was also the first step in fulfilling requirements of Article 12 of the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union regarding regional cooperation.


V4 expert meeting on connected and automated driving (CAD) and Smart Mobility 22 – 23 November 2018 in Bratislava

Experts nominated by V4 Ministries have met for the second time to discuss progress and future plans in the area of CAD and Smart Mobility in their countries. As before, this meeting proved to be very helpful and inspiring and all delegates confirmed their interest to continue with similar exchanges of views and experience in the future, within the V4 format, under leadership of a respective Presidency.

All countries confirmed that CAD and Smart Mobility are of high and even growing interest, with a growing demand on state authorities to keep pace and lead transformation in their countries. Several strategies are being produced, some of them are already concluded and followed by the concrete implementation projects.


V4 + France consultations of Directors General of EU Affairs, 27/11/2018, Bratislava

Directors General responsible for EU Affairs of V4 countries and France met in Bratislava and discussed the actual European topics. Among others, the Multiannual financial framework or migration were on agenda, followed by developments in European defense policy, COP24 Climate conference, focus was put also on European internal market, brexit, future of the EU, etc. The meeting proved to be a valuable opportunity for exchanging the views and comprehending the positions of each other. Directors General of V4 countries and France agreed on keeping this format of consultations and meeting again soon.

 

Meeting of the Steering Group on the document „Common Spatial Development Strategy of V4+2 Countries” - 28th November 2018 in Bratislava

Participants of this meeting decided that there is no need for updating the document „Common Spatial Development Strategy of V4+2 Countries“ which was approved in Budapest in 2014. As the cooperation in the field of spatial planning has a long history, members decided to stop the work within the Steering Group. The common cooperation will continue under a new name Spatial Observation Group of V4+2 Countries. At the meeting it was agreed to continue by developing, promoting and transferring good practices, exchanging information and knowledge sharing on spatial planning. Further cooperation will focus on current challenges in V4+2 countries emphasizing the spatial planning point of view.


Meeting of Heads of the Passenger Information Units of V4 and Austria (Bratislava)

The event created an appropriate platform for exchanging information and experience on the processing of PNR data between the national passenger information points of the V4 and Austria. Participants analyzed the current and predicted trends related to committing serious crime and terrorism in the Central European region and discussed innovative approaches to identify the activities of perpetrators and the possibilities for effective use of PNR data.

 

V4 Political Directors in Ukraine

The V4 Political Directors under the SK V4 Presidency paid visit to Kiev on 30 November 2018. The current situation in the Sea of Azov was one of the main topics, discussed also with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vasyl Bodnar. Political directors expressed solidarity with Ukraine, stressed the importance of free passage through the Kerch Strait and the release of captured Ukrainian sailors and vessels by the Russian Federation. Discussions focused also on the reform process in the country. Appreciated were the reforms that have been carried out what is also confirmed in the assessments of the European Commission. It is crucial to continue with this reform course in spite of the complex situation in the East of Ukraine and the Sea of Azov.


Meeting of V4 specialists on environmental crime, Bratislava

The topic of the meeting was the issue of illegal logging in the countries of Eastern Europe. Experts have exchanged information on the law and the system of detection and investigation of cases of illegal logging in individual countries, which is a prerequisite for further cooperation. At the same time, they agreed on a further procedure for detecting cases linked to the V4 countries.


Visegrad Youth Forum 2018 – 5-7 December 2018, Banská Bystrica 

Banská Bystrica hosted the seventh edition of the annual Visegrad Youth Forum (VYF) The conference took place from December 5 until December 7, uniting young academics, students and experts from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia in various discussions and debates. For the very first time in the history of the project, the final conference was preceded by events in each respective capital city of the Visegrad Group, organized in cooperation with the project’s partner organizations. During the workshop sessions focusing on the future of the V4, the participating students produced recommendations for Visegrad policy makers. Furthermore, during the project’s North Atlantic Council summit simulation, the participants created and agreed on a joint statement about the role of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) within the framework of European and trans-Atlantic defence structures and policies. All outputs, as well as a booklet summarizing the entire project will be available on the project’s official website vyf.eac.sk.

 

V4 and Germany Political Directors´ consultations, 9 December 2018, Brussels

The Political Directors of the Visegrad Group met their German counterpart on 9 December 2018 on the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council. The discussion focused on the current situation in Ukraine and in the Sea of Azov, Civilian CSDP Compact and opening of the accession negotiations to EU with fYRoM and Albania in 2019. During consultations, partners elaborated the proposal of German Minister of Foreign Affairs H. Mass on the new „Ostpolitik“. Political Directors also exchanged views on the current situation in Iran.

 



 

 


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