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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish FM discusses regional ties with Czech, Hungarian counterparts

28.05.2020 06:30
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz visited Prague and Budapest on Wednesday, on his first foreign trip since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Audio
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz (left) gives an elbow bump to his Czech counterpart Tom Petek (right), following a bilateral meeting in Prague on Wednesday.
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz (left) gives an elbow bump to his Czech counterpart Tomáš Petříček (right), following a bilateral meeting in Prague on Wednesday.Photo EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK

Czaputowicz's face-to-face meetings with his Czech counterpart Tomáš Petříček and Hungary’s Péter Szijjártó focused on regional policy and plans to reopen borders after a coronavirus lockdown.

“After applying all measures such as face masks … in order to get back  to normal in diplomatic relations, I would like to set an example to others, showing that person-to-person meetings are possible, not only telephone talks or video conferences,” Czaputowicz said in Prague.

“I want the Visegrad Group to show that this is possible,” he added.

The Visegrad Group, or V4, is a regional cooperation platform that brings together Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

Czaputowicz said that the "epidemic situation” in the four Visegrad Group nations was better than in other EU member states, which prompted Poland to reinstate cross-border work.

"Poland wants to keep lifting restrictions on foreigners’ visits,” Czaputowicz declared. “We're following  measures undertaken by other countries and we realise that restrictions put an economic burden on Polish and Czech tourism.”

Petříček, for his part, said that the Czech Republic was ready to reopen borders in mid-June with countries that have a similar epidemic pattern and asked Poland to consider opening additional border crossings with his country.

While in Budapest, Czaputowicz hailed a recent declaration by officials that Hungary would join the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund, the Polish foreign ministry said, referring to a project that is expected to help finance infrastructure projects in Central and Eastern Europe.

Poland's top diplomat Jacek Czaputowicz (left) speaks during a joint press conference with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó in Budapest. Photo: PAP/EPA/ZSOLT SZIGETVARY Poland's top diplomat Jacek Czaputowicz (left) speaks during a joint press conference with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó in Budapest. Photo: PAP/EPA/ZSOLT SZIGETVARY

(mo/gs)

Click on the audio player above to listen to a report by Michał Owczarek.