V4: Brexit will not thwart European project

4. 7. 2016 | Source: BusinessInfo.cz

Fostering new relations with a non-EU United Kingdom represents a key challenge, the foreign ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) alliance said following the Brexit vote.

"We have an interest in that relationship being a quality one, and one in which we act as friends who need each other," said Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek (Social Democrat). He added that much rested on the UK's future approach. The foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary – along with those of France and Germany – met in Prague last Monday. But no concrete policy statement emerged from their session.

The Czech government laid out priorities. For one, it is moving to enable Czech citizens to continue working freely in the UK as part of any deal in which the reverse is true, with UK citizens continuing to work freely in the EU. In terms of the Brits wanting full access to the European single market, the price for this would have to be determined. While on a two-day trip to Brussels, PM Bohuslav Sobotka is to push for the extension of a farmers' subsidy program.

He said he believes that in future it should also compensate farmers for falling wholesale milk and beef prices. Zaorálek and his V4 counterparts also agreed that a joint effort must be made to chart a viable future course for the remaining 27 EU members, critically reliant on their fellow EU partners. That means a business-as-usual approach of continued integration, pretending that all is well, would be the entirely wrong road to take, the ministers concurred.

Originally published in E15 weekly, economic and business newsmagazine. Author: Jana Havligerová

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