Press Advisories

4. 7. 2017 23:07

V4 Prime Ministers discussed mutual trade and security situation with President of Egypt

Společná tisková konference po jednání předsedů vlád zemí V4 s prezidentem Egyptské arabské republiky, 4. července 2017.
Joint press conference after the meeting of V4 Prime Ministers with President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, 4 July 2017.
The V4 summit of Visegrad Group Prime Ministers, including Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, continued in Budapest in the afternoon of Tuesday, 4 July 2017, with the participation of the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The main topics of their meeting included the relations between the EU and Egypt, new security challenges, as well as economic cooperation. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka also discussed economic and scientific cooperation with Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán.

Other topics of the joint meeting of Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, included Egypt’s role in tackling regional security problems, the fight against terrorism, tackling the illegal migration or energy security.

According to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the Visegrad Group respects the stabilisation role that Egypt plays in the Middle East and North Africa. He believes that the European Union and Egypt share the same concerns in a number of areas, and this is another reason why V4 countries are eager to continue to enhance the EU-Egyptian relations. They also welcome the EU’s proposal to hold a meeting of the Association Council in July this year. The V4 countries can offer their experiences to Egypt – in particular in education and the development of renewable energy sources. The V4 Prime Ministers also appreciated Egypt’s positive role in managing the migration flows. At the same time, however, they urged improvements of its democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights, which are among the priorities of EU countries’ foreign policy.

Regarding new security challenges and the fight against terrorism, the V4 countries expressed their sympathy and indignation at the number of Egyptian victims of terrorist attacks. They also welcomed the political and security dialogue between the EU and Egypt. Egypt is a top-priority partner in stabilising the whole region, whether in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, the governmental vacuum in Libya, the Qatar crisis or the conflict in Yemen.

According to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Egypt is also strategically important for Europe’s energy security. Tankers transport liquefied natural gas over the Suez Canal, and the country should also develop its new natural gas deposits.

The V4 Prime Ministers and the President of Egypt also discussed economic cooperation. EU countries constitute Egypt’s largest trading partner, with the total mutual trade amounting to €19.4 billion. At the same time, they highlighted the EU’s objections to Egypt’s approach to trade liberalisation, with inadequate non-tariff barriers for businesses exporting to Egypt being a problem in particular.

Discussion with Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán

Afterwards, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. They primarily discussed bilateral issues, including economic cooperation. In 2015, the total trade exchange between the Czech Republic and Hungary reached a record-breaking level of €7.23 billion. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka sees a further potential for increasing the trade exchange, inter alia, in the energy sector and the defence and aerospace industries.

Another topic included scientific cooperation, because the Czech Republic, Hungary and also Romania are the countries hosting the laser centres of the ELI European research infrastructure. This has been the first-ever pan-European research infrastructure built in new EU Member States, fully utilising the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The Prime Ministers of both countries also discussed the cooperation within the Visegrad Group and the development of the whole Central European region. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka stressed that the Czech Republic was interested in V4’s open cooperation in relation to other EU Member States.

In addition, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka wished his Hungarian counterpart good luck during the Visegrad Group presidency, which Hungary assumed on 1 July 2017.

In the forenoon of the summit, the Visegrad Group Prime Ministers focused on aligning their positions on the violation of the migrant allocation arrangement , on the Posting of Workers Directive, as well as on the European Pillar of Social Rights. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka also met Mr Sisi, President of Egypt.

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