Second meeting of “the Central 5” in Budapest
On Tuesday, 14 July 2020, the foreign ministers of Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia met in Budapest. It was the second time they have held a meeting in this configuration of five Central European countries, informally called, on Slovenia's proposal, “the Central 5”. The first such meeting was held on 16 June 2020 in Vienna.
The meeting was hosted by the Hungarian Foreign Minister, Péter Szijjártó. The foreign ministers discussed the current issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing on opening borders to third-country nationals, establishing a recovery instrument aimed at helping affected Member States that lack the capacities to recover through national budget financing, and the Multiannual Financial Framework. The talks also touched on the role of state subsidies in investments and on regional economic cooperation, which would allow EU Member States to relaunch and strengthen their economies.
Established in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, meetings between foreign ministers in such configuration represent a new form of intensified cooperation and the development of closer ties in this part of Europe.
Minister Logar invited his counterparts to Slovenia for the next meeting, which could be held on 15 September 2020.