V4 leaders positive after dinner with European Commission president

V4 leaders positive after dinner with European Commission president
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives in Brussels for the EU summit.
By bne IntelliNews October 20, 2017

The head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker held talks with leaders of the Visegrad Group at a nearly three-hour dinner on October 19. 

The dinner on the eve of the EU summit was a bid to appease the eurosceptic quartet and narrow differences on such contested issues as migration and labour and proposed changes to EU rules.

The prime ministers of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic all highlighted the positive after the dinner with the European Commission president at the Commission's Berlaymont headquarters.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the meeting was “successful, productive and meaningful, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

The V4 leaders presented a united front on every issue at the meeting and succeeded in demonstrating to the EC president that the V4 is a tight, effective and successful alliance, Orban said. Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia made their position clear that the European Union must not apply double standards to eastern and western member states, he added.

The European president organised the dinner in an attempt to bridge the increasingly visible divide separating western and eastern EU countries on a number of fronts, which according to diplomats surprised Central European leaders. 

The EU's unity has been strained by rows over immigration quotas seen as particularly imposed by Berlin, lower-quality consumer goods sent to “second-class” member states of the bloc, increasing tendencies in Western Europe to turn away “cheap workers from the East” and other tensions that have not been eased by the Brexit referendum.

The Visegrad countries also warned against a multi-speed Europe and argued against further federalisation.

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