22 Jul

Finnish Ambassador: The biggest differences with V4 have been climate and migration issues

Finish presidency at the Council of the EU has started on July 1, ambassador of Republic of Finland to Poland claims Helsinki prepared ambitious program despite the institutions are setting up its leadership. Collaboration with V4 shall be sought at security in the Baltic Sea region and in Central-Eastern Europe, as well as in infrastructure, JUHA OTTMAN says.

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Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne delivers his speech about the the priorities of the incoming Finnish presidency at the European Parliament. (EPA-EFE/PATRICK SEEGER)

Finish presidency at the Council of the EU has started on July 1, ambassador of Republic of Finland to Poland claims Helsinki prepared ambitious program despite the institutions are setting up its leadership. Collaboration with V4 shall be sought at security in the Baltic Sea region and in Central-Eastern Europe, as well as in infrastructure, JUHA OTTMAN says.

Russian President at the glass dome of the under water vehicle 'Sea Explorer-5' in Baltic Sea. (EPA/Alexei Nikolsky/Ria Novosti/Kremlin)

Although V4 countries are rather partners than rivals for Baltics, there are some differences between both regions, such as in the case of euro, migration, democratic backsliding, security issues and approach towards Russia, said expert from the University of Tartu.

Informal meeting of the heads of the V4, June 2018 (TASR/MTI/Prime Minister’s Press Office)

The most profound crisis facing the European Union today is the crisis of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. Other EU crises such as the refugee crisis or the Eurozone crisis have – at least for the time being – abated, and Brexit has turned out to be more of a costly annoyance for the EU than the existential crisis many had feared. But the crisis of backsliding on the rule of law and democracy itself in some EU member states – particularly in Central and Eastern Europe – shows no signs of abating. Indeed, the situation is getting worse.

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) (EC/AV)

While the V4 are the main beneficiaries of EU subsidies, and the insufficient use of EU funds remains one of the most burning systemic issues the region is facing, the Visegrád Group is nowhere near unified on the issue.  The EU’s anti-fraud agency has limited leverage, as it is up to local law enforcement authorities to investigate cases where EU funds were defrauded.

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