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V4 state secretary level discussion in Budapest

Text: Béla Révész | Photo: László Kertész |  11:43 December 7, 2021

On 3 December, State Secretary for Defence István Szabó held a discussion with the representatives of partner countries in Budapest about defence cooperation in the Visegrád Group.

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Chaired by State Secretary for Defence István Szabó as host, the state secretary level discussion took place on 3 December during the Hungarian presidency of the Visegrád Group. At the meeting, Slovakia was represented by Defence Policy Director Martin Sklenár, the Czech Republic by Deputy State Secretary Petr Čech, and Poland by Parliamentary State Secretary Marcin Ociepa. The participants discussed the mechanism regulating defence cooperation, the possibilities for cooperation in the development of defence capabilities and other current issues of the V4 defence cooperation. They reviewed a number of important defence issues concerning NATO and the European Union as well as the future directions of cooperation.

The discussion was based on the V4 defence ministerial meeting held on 1 October, which assigned tasks to the state secretaries, defence policy directors, chiefs of general staffs and armaments directors of the member states. Speaking about the Friday discussion, István Szabó said that the V4 countries are doing a successful job in performing the designated tasks. “We have talked about our NATO- and EU-related issues, too, as well as the currently ongoing reflective processes, with special regard to NATO’s new Strategic Concept and the agreement on the European Union’s Strategic Compass. We have succeeded in adopting common standpoints on all matters, so we can jointly represent the common defence policy interests of the four countries”, he emphasized.

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In answer to our question, State Secretary István Szabó said that they are paying special attention to the unfolding crisis situation along the Polish–Belarusian border. “We have discussed it, and of course we also spoke about the possible practical assistance with border protection that we could offer our Polish friends”, he added.

Hungary took over the presidential duties of the Visegrád Group on 1 July 2021. The aim of the Hungarian presidency is to further strengthen cooperation in the fields of defence policy and military affairs, thereby solidifying the V4 regional identity.