Visegrad group backs nuclear energy

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Energy issues, particularly nuclear energy, topped the list of topics discussed by Monday's meeting of leader from the Visegrad Group, namely the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

Speaking at a news conference following the first such gathering since Hungary took over the rotating presidency of the group in July, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban acknowledged that the group was pro-nuclear energy.

"Every country is entitled to produce the energy it needs," Orban said, calling on the European Union to help and not hinder central Europe's efforts to increase its nuclear power capacity.

He also said that the Visegrad Group planned on discussing how to establish a regional gas market.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico noted that a gas pipeline connecting Hungary and Slovakia would go into operation in January 2015 to allow the two countries to share capacities.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk also spoke on the close cooperation of the four countries, calling it crucial to establishing a secure energy supply.

They also supported the extraction of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing since energy source diversification was a cardinal issue, he said.

Czech Republic Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok, meanwhile, highlighted sovereignty on the decision regarding whether to use nuclear energy, and in general, on allowing all countries to choose the types and amounts of energy sources used within their countries.

The Group, also called the V4 for its four members, is a geographically cohesive block of central European countries.

Named for the Hungarian town of Visegrad where they first met, the group was established in 1991 following a decision of the members to work together on a number of issues.

Together the four countries make up the seventh largest economy in Europe and the fourteenth largest in the world. They have been using their combined clout of 65 million people for interest advocacy within the European Union, of which they are all members, as well as at other international forums. Endi

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