24 Jun

The Evolving Interests of the Visegrad Four in the Next European Union Mandate

The Visegrad Four (V4), comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, have long been united by geographical proximity and shared historical experiences. However, the panel discussion featuring experts and politicians from the V4 countries reveals a complex and evolving landscape of interests as the European Union (EU) enters its next mandate.

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After tense weeks of negotiations, during which it looked like the cycling transport agenda will be once again overlooked, the Slovak Ministry of Transport and Construction announced that it will be part of National Recovery and Resilience Plan. However, support schemes for cycling need to change for it to be effective, as claimed by NGO and ministry officials.

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, protective and medical equipment has become one of the most valuable commodities in global markets. After a few months, the needs of many EU countries are already satisfied with domestic production. In Poland, we managed to produce simpler medical masks or disinfectant liquids but importing respirators or production of more complicated masks seem to be problematic. However, there is much hope for the potential production of vaccines.

The European Union has set itself ambitious climate targets. Czechia plans to contribute to these goals with nuclear energy still on track. According to a recent study initiated by Czech MEPs, it is the only feasible way to do so. However, energy and environment analysts are not that keen on nuclear energy.

The Slovak government has yet to agree on where, how, and for how much it will roll-out the missing broadband networks, as the European Commission is talking about ultra-fast internet coverage in the whole of EU. But while the finance ministry suggests that the state will subsidize the tightening of optical cables at the level of municipalities, IT and telecom experts warn that the country has not invested a single euro to cover the full connectivity of households.

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