On 1 July 2020 the rotating presidency of the Visegrad Group (V4) began. This is the sixth Polish presidency of V4 and it will end on the 30 June 2021. The Polish Presidency will run under the motto "Back on track". The Visegrad cooperation will focus not only on reconstruction after the pandemic, but also on giving impetus to regional cooperation, its improvement and supporting interpersonal contacts between the societies of the four countries of the Group after the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
V4 initiatives and activities under the Polish Presidency will be divided into three areas:
- Economy and connectivity
In these three areas PL PRES has set 4 objectives:
- Strong V4 in a strong Europe – a goal related to the coordination of activities of the V4 countries in the EU.
- Return to normality – a goal aimed at the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
- People-to-people contacts – a goal related to strengthening the integration and cohesion between V4 countries and communities.
- Digital V4 ‘e-V4’ – a goal targeting the development of V4 cooperation in the digital sector.
The debate and actions will focus also on climate and energy.
During the Polish V4 Presidency work will continue to update nationally determined contributions (NDC) of EU members and draft legislation supporting the European Green Deal. In particular, publishing an evaluation of effects of the Climate Law regulation, which assumes achieving climate neutrality by 2050, is expected in the autumn of 2020, as is the proposal to revise climate legislation in order to allow achieving the mentioned higher energy saving target (June 2021).
Another important topic forming part of the European Green Deal is the Just Transition Fund. The Fund’s resources are supposed to support the modernisation of mining sectors and climate neutrality, but the activities must be planned and properly implemented. Polish Presidency will encourage V4 cooperation as regards future negotiations on the regulation draft.
Work done as part of the EU Emissions Trading System is not without importance for the V4 either. Right now, arrangements on the operation of, among others, the Modernisation Fund or Innovation Fund and free allocations are being finalised. All those mechanisms allow supporting just transition, therefore taking the V4’s position into account when determining its principles is paramount.
Energy policy: safe energy for the future
1. Just transition of the energy sector towards climate-neutral economy, role of energy transformation in stimulating the economy when the COVID-19 pandemic ceases
- Coordination of the V4 countries’ positions concerning the EU strategy to transform the economy towards climate neutrality in 2050 (“European Green Deal”) and ensuring that key projects are carried out to stimulate the economy when the pandemic ceases.
- Consultations concerning legislative framework (ETS directive, RES and energy efficiency).
- Coordination of a common position taken during works at the EU level in order to reinforce the voice of the V4 countries and effectively promote their proposals.
- Collaboration and exchange of experience concerning the implementation of the “Clean energy for all Europeans” package, including as regards the common electricity energy market, new market services, readiness to face threats to the electricity power system, and electric energy efficiency within the electricity market.
- Coordination among the V4 countries to exchange information and develop common positions relating to implementing the clean energy for all Europeans package and effectively achieving the EU energy and climate policy objectives.
- EU funds for transformation of the energy system also in the context of post-pandemic economy stimulation programmes
- Coordination of V4 activities to ensure adequate power grid financing on all levels of voltage and energy infrastructure, including flexible gas-powered generation sources and extending the possibilities of trans-border energy transmission.
- Just transition of energy systems in V4 coal regions.
- Exchange of good practices and implementation of projects for V4 coal areas included in the EC’s “Coal regions in transition” initiative which is prioritised by the EU.
- More intense collaboration concerning the EC’s “Coal regions in transition” initiative in the context of implementing the European Green Deal. Ensuring adequate financial resources to my.
2. Future of the European natural gas market regulatory framework
- Developing a common V4 position on proposed regulations for the European natural gas sector.
- Maintaining support for natural gas by assigning it the status of “transition fuel” and, in appropriate cases, also “destination fuel.”
- Organisation of the V4 Gas Forum, an expert seminar attended by administration officials, transmission grid operators and regulatory authorities;
- Including this topic in the work of the V4 Energy Think Tank Platform.
- Coordination of the V4’s position as an important contribution towards building a coalition promoting natural gas.
3. Innovative technologies in the energy sector
- Support for and development of e-mobility in the V4 countries by expanding charger infrastructure.
- Conducting joint V4 research projects to develop technologies for storage and generation of electricity as well as for using alternative fuels in transport.
- Drafting a joint V4 strategy to extend the use of hydrogen in transport and energy systems and its manufacture from renewable and conventional sources.
- Developing a common V4 position on amending the directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.
4. Zero emission nuclear power
- Coordination of the V4’s position on current matters within the agenda of the EU and other international organisations dealing with nuclear power.
- More intense industrial collaboration among entrepreneurs from the V4 countries and extending scientific and research collaboration in the nuclear energy area; organisation of a V4 nuclear industry forum.