We, the Ministers of Defence of the Visegrad Group Countries, met today in Prague to discuss a wide range of issues of common interest. Our regular meetings under the umbrella of the Visegrad Group present a useful platform for cooperation. In this regard, we also welcome the results of the meeting of the V4 Chiefs of Defence which took place from 29th February 2008 to 1st March 2008 in Prague.
We agree and much appreciate that the NATO Bucharest Summit represented significant progress in various fields of NATO political, transformational and defence agenda. In this context, we exchanged our views on the way ahead in implementing the Summit conclusions.
The Summit marks the beginning of a new era for the Western Balkans. We express our hope that the year of NATO's 60th anniversary, 2009, will also be a year of an Alliance enlargement by three new countries. The vision of our open-door policy foresees all countries from the region, willing and ready for membership, to become, sooner or later, full-fledged members of the European and Euro-Atlantic structures.
We emphasize the need to achieve stability, security, democracy and prosperity in the regions of our security interest, especially in the Western Balkans and in Afghanistan. In line with our respective national mandates, we will maintain our military as well as civilian presence in both regions as long as necessary.
We held a working lunch with our Ukrainian colleague, Minister Ekhanurov, to discuss issues of common interest. We reconfirmed our support to Ukraine's aspirations for Membership Action Plan and eventual NATO accession. We will continue to provide assistance to their reform processes which are key to the success of their Euro-Atlantic integration efforts.
We also expressed our support for Georgia's sovereignty and integrity, as well as confirmed our will to assist Georgia in its efforts to join the Euro Atlantic and European institutions.
We appreciate the progress made so far within the European Security and Defence Policy, particularly in the area of rapid response capabilities. To support it by practical steps, we express our continued determination to actively participate in the EU Battle Group initiative.
We underline the importance of a close and functioning NATO-EU cooperation in a wide range of areas. In the light of NATO and EU involvement in missions abroad, effectiveness, coherence and complementarity are crucial issues to be tackled. The room for improvement is wide in both operational matters as well as in capability development.