V4 summit: fighting inflation and human rights in Belarus
Yesterday the 20th anniversary summit of prime ministers of the Visegrad 4, joined by German and Austrian chancellors, Angela Merkel and Werner Faymann, and Ukrainian PM Mykola Azarov, decided to put the official agenda to the side a little and talk instead about the effects of inflation on the people of Europe.
The main focus was on the constantly rising prices of food and energies, which the 7 heads of state want to deal with on the level of the European Union. PM Radicova said that these issue could not be resolved on a national level, but must involve the whole EU, which is why the leaders agreed that the European Council should examine the issue at the EU summit in March.
Expressing her deep concern about the issue, Radicova said on behalf of everyone: “We call on EU institutions, including the Council, to address the issue in a swift and effective way”. Italian economy minister had said on the same day that food prices were being hiked up by speculators.
All those present, with the exception of Ukrainian PM, took a firm stance to the power abuse situation in Belarus, and so they adopted a resolution condemning abuse of human rights and democratic liberties in the country. The Belarus presidential elections on 19 December were allegedly manipulated, with 600 protesters being put in jail. The summit has also called for their release.
Ukrainian PM Azarov said that considering his country’s good relations with Belarus, they could influence human rights there in different ways. He also said that they had only received the wording of the declaration in the morning of the summit, and so their signing of it should not be rushed.