The Latest on Europe migration issues (all times local):
Defense officials of six Central European countries and the Balkans have pledged close cooperation in tackling migration with all possible means including use of armed forces.
The countries — Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia — have created a grouping called the Central European Defense Cooperation and want to be a role model for the entire European Union.
Among the group’s goals is that all migrants who want to apply for asylum in EU countries have to do it in centers outside the bloc.
Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said after a meeting in Prague on Monday that his country has been preparing a detailed action plan of cooperation for the six whose military forces will train in a joint drill in next few months.
Poland’s prime minister says that heavily-criticized remarks she made last week at Auschwitz weren’t about refugees as many people assumed.
Beata Szydlo told the wPolityce website Monday that the comments “in no way referred to the issue of migration” and that “this was not even the context.”
Szydlo said last week during a memorial observance at Auschwitz that “in today’s restless times, Auschwitz is a great lesson showing that everything must be done to protect the safety and life of one’s citizens.”
The comments were widely understood as a defense of her conservative government’s refusal to accept refugees as part of a European Union resettlement plan.
That position prompted the European Commission to launch legal action last week against Poland, along with the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Niepołomice, 2 February 2017
We, the Ministers of Defence of the Visegrad Group (V4) met in Niepołomice, Poland. We discussed the wide range of issues pertinent to our security and defense, took stock of our cooperation under the Polish V4 Presidency and set a guidance on its further development.
– We agreed on the need to fully implement the NATO Warsaw Summit decisions, including on the strengthening of the Eastern Flank. We re-confirmed the importance of the enhanced Forward Presence for the more effective deterrence and defence of NATO.
– We discussed the V4 contribution to the NATO Assurance Measures for the Baltic States in 2017. It has already started with the Czech deployment in Lithuania, which will be followed by Slovak deployment in Latvia in the second quarter, Hungarian deployment in Estonia in third quarter and Poland’s deployment in Latvia in fourth quarter.
– We agreed that possible V4 eFP contribution will be considered in due time. We tasked our Chiefs of the General Staffs to present by June 2017 initial recommendations for further V4 contribution to the security of the Baltic States.
– We agreed that the establishment of the Multinational Division North East HQ in Elbląg in Poland will strengthen NATO effectiveness in undertaking collective defence tasks on the Eastern Flank. Poland is grateful for the readiness of its V4 partners to contribute significantly to MNDNE HQ.
– We identified the 2020 rotation of the NATO VJTF under the Polish command as an important opportunity for V4 to tighten its cooperation. The Czech Republic confirmed its readiness to make a substantial contribution to it.
– We stressed that the recent deployment of the US Armoured Brigade Combat Team to Poland is of importance for ensuring the security of the entire region and the strength of the transatlantic link. We agreed that the training opportunities offered by the ABCT widen the scope of practical military cooperation among the Armed Forces of the V4 countries. We tasked our Chiefs of General Staffs to make proposals on how to take this forward by June 2017.
– We also stressed the importance of tackling challenges stemming from the South and supported NATO’s related activities in light of its 360 degree approach. Hungary reiterated its gratitude to the V4 countries for their practical assistance in addressing illegal migration.
– We expressed our support for the further development of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy and agreed it should address the security challenges for all the EU members in an effective manner and strengthen NATO at the same time.
– We expressed gratitude to our soldiers for the successful standby of the V4 EU Battle Group with Poland as a framework nation in 2016. Its robust composition and the establishment of the Operational Headquarters in Kraków proved V4 readiness and ability to contribute to multinational formations. We expressed our appreciation for preparations for the next V4 EU Battle Group in 2019 which have already started.
8. 6. 2016 18:24
Prime Minister Sobotka hosts Final Summit of Czech V4 Presidency in Prague
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, in addition to discussing the results of the culminating Czech Presidency and the programme for the upcoming Polish Presidency spoke mainly about the topics for the European Council session to be held from 28 to 29 June. The V4 Prime Ministers called for Great Britain to remain in the European Union, rejected a European Commission proposal for reform of the asylum system containing a redistribution mechanism on a mandatory and automatic basis and requested that the European Commission submit a proposal for an effective joint European solution to the market crisis in agricultural commodities, in particular milk and pork products. A further topic of the discussions was preparation for the NATO summit to take place 8‑9 July in Warsaw. The results of the meeting are summarised in the Joint Declaration adopted by the Prime Ministers. More information on http://www.vlada.cz/en/media-centrum/aktualne/declaration-of-the-visegrad-group-premiers-8-6-2016-145207/.
During the V4 summit the Prime Ministers signed a joint letter to European Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, in which they pointed out the difficult living conditions of more than 1.7 million people displaced within the Ukraine, who have fled their homes as a result of the armed conflict in the east of the country. The letter contains a proposal to develop a European programme whose objective will be to support the Ukrainian government in handling this situation, to help them integrate refugees in their new communities and prevent an increase in migration from the Ukraine to other countries. More information on http://www.vlada.cz/en/media-centrum/aktualne/v4-joint-letter-to-european-commission-chairman-jean-claude-juncker-145224/.