Poland to focus on pandemic effects during its V4 presidency: FM

During a Wednesday videoconference with his counterparts from the Visegrad Group (V4, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia) and eight countries of the Nordics and Baltics, Polish FM Jacek Czaputowicz said that Poland will focus on dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic during its coming V4 presidency.

"The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world as we know it," Mr Czaputowicz told the region's FMs during the video conference held in place of a planned Prague meeting on the sidelines of the Prague European Summit.

"Rapid eradication of its effects will be one of the key tasks for the European community. Poland will also focus on that challenge during its upcoming leadership of the V4 group," FM Czaputowicz said.

During the video conference, Mr Czaputowicz also told his couterparts that eradication of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic was among the key tasks facing the EU.

The ministry noted that consultation with the FMs of the V4 and NB8 (Nordic and Baltic eight) was an opportunity to exchange views on important matters from the perspective of Northern and Central and Eastern Europe. As part of a panel on global challenges, the issue of relations with China, Russia, the countries of the Eastern Partnership and the Western Balkans was raised.

Belarusian events and Russia’s attitude during pandemic

The ministers also discussed the troubling events in Belarus on the eve of presidential elections in that country, as well as issues concerning cybersecurity and the Estonian presidency of the UN Security Council, Poland’s Foreign Ministry said.

According to the release, Mr Czaputowicz felt that, despite the pandemic, Russia has not changed its attitude towards Western countries, therefore a common position towards Moscow was of the essence.

"The head of Polish diplomacy also indicated that during the pandemic an increased number of unfriendly activities had been observed in the field of cybersecurity, such as cyber-attacks and the spreading of untrue information," the release reads.

‘Poland unerringly stands for an ambitious EU budget’

In terms of the EU, the foreign ministers discussed the multi-annual financial framework and the EU's Recovery Fund as well as the Green Deal, digitalisation and the rule of law. "Poland unerringly stands for an ambitious EU budget especially as regards cohesion policy as a tool to support the rebuilding of the EU after the crisis," Mr Czaputowicz was quoted in the communique as saying.

The FM also gave his assurance of Poland's engagement with its neighbouring countries, not only within the EU but also the Eastern Partnership countries and those of the Western Balkans.