Minister of Finance Mihály Varga said at the press conference following the V4 summit of finance ministers that the Visegrad countries expect the European Union to play a greater role in strengthening the external borders against another wave of illegal immigration.
Varga emphasized that the economic strength of the V4 group is becoming more and more decisive in Europe; therefore, the relaunch of the European economy cannot be successful without countries in the region performing well.
During the Hungarian presidency of the V4, which started in July 2021, the ministers of finance of the four countries met for the first time. Prior to the press conference, a joint statement was signed by Mihály Varga, Alena Schillerová from the Czech Republic, Igor Matovič from Slovakia and Tadeusz Kościński from Poland.
As host, the Hungarian minister of finance emphasized that the central themes of the Hungarian presidency, launched under the motto “Recharging Europe,” are the relaunch of the economy, security, and the V4’s strong voice in the debate on the future of Europe.
He pointed out that the combined trade of the four Visegrad countries with Germany is twice that of German-French trade and three times that of German-Italian trade. The V4’s economy grew faster before COVID-19 and outperformed the EU average even during the crisis.
Several important points of cooperation were set out in the signed declaration. These include the relaunch of the V4 economies and the necessary supportive fiscal policies, cooperation in the fight against tax fraud, and support for families.
Varga emphasized at the press conference that they want to overcome the population challenges not with immigration but with support for families raising children. The Visegrad countries continue to work together to protect their external borders and fight illegal migration, he said.
The finance minister stated that Hungary has spent HUF 590 billion on the construction of a 175-kilometer fence protecting the Schengen border of the Union and on border protection since 2015. The European Union has funded just over 1 percent of the costs.
Varga emphasized that the Visegrad Four are calling for the European Union to contribute more to the burden of border protection than at present, adding that he is confident that the voice of the V4 will become stronger and stronger in the debates of the Union in parallel with their growing economic power.