SUMMIT OF PRIME MINISTERS IN CRACOW
The last official summit of Prime Ministers of the Visegrad group took place in Cracow on 31.5. - 1.6.2001. The Prime Ministers discussed first of all the perspectives of Visegrad cooperation, European and Euro-Atlantic integration and other topics of international politics.
At the beginning the Polish side presented the annual report on the period of Polish Presidency of Visegrad Group V4 indicating that in the last year the prestige of V4 has increased. The proof of this are frequent meetings of representatives of V4 with their partners from the EU countries and the interest of several countries in close cooperation with V4.
The main part of discussion was dedicated to this "external dimension" of Visegrad cooperation. All Visegrad countries welcomed the idea of cooperation of V4 with Benelux countries. The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic presented at the summit the position of the Czech Republic on the structure of the cooperation concept.
As the summit took place six days before the Vienna conference on regional partnership (an Austrian initiative aiming at strengthening cooperation between the V4 countries, Austria and Slovenia in the contextof the EU accession negotiations ) the summit provided an opportunity for a more detailed exchange of views on this topic. The Prime Ministers agreed on the basic principles of the V4 countries approach to the Austrian initiative.
As for the neighbouring countries the most intensive interest to cooperate with V4 is manifested in Slovenia. The Prime Ministers agreed to support participation of Slovenian subjects in projects financed by the International Visegrad Fund.
In reference to the summit in Goteborg the Prime Ministers exchanged their views on the state of integration process. They agreed that from Goteborg they expect first of all decisions that would sustain the pace of negotiations with the candidate countries and confirmation of the positive results of Nice summit. The declaration
of the Prime Ministers contains the statement that Visegrad countries are interested in participating in the elections to the European Parliament as full-fledged members. In the final declaration and at the press conference the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland expressed their support to NATO membership of Slovakia.
As for cooperation between individual ministries in V4 format it was noted that the proposal of Prime Ministers made at their informal meeting in Karlovy Vary last year, namely to achieve that ministries of industry join in cooperation in the field of defence industry, has not yet been realized.
An important point on the agenda was budget of the International Visegrad Fund. The Prime Ministers agreed that one of the best results of Visegrad cooperation are activities of the Fund and the enormous public interest in financial support. As the budget of the International Visegrad Fund could so far provide financial support to only about 10 percent of applicants the Prime Ministers committed themselves politically to double the contribution of each Visegrad country to the Fund which would then amount to 500 000,- Euro and the annual budget reach two million Euro.
The Hungarian side presented the priorities of their upcoming presidency of the Visegrad Group. These include creation of infrastructure, cooperation of V4 with other countries and European and Atlantic integration.
The summit of the Prime Ministers showed basic agreement in the assessment of Visegrad cooperation and first of all its external dimension (V4-Benelux, Austrian initiative, cooperation with third countries).
The summit of the Prime Ministers concluded the period of Polish presidency of the Visegrad group. For the next period it will be in hands of the Hungarian Republic.
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