Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini warned the European Union risks fragmentation unless Brussels does not start respecting member state’s interests.

“We can see the risk of a possible political and economic fragmentation of Europe,” said Pellegrini during a visit to Prague on April 11.

As reported by The Prague Daily Monitor, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis also said the Czechs want a stronger role of the member states at the cost of the European Commission.

According to Pellegrini, a split threatens to occur not only between the older and younger EU members but also between those in the north and in the south of the continent.

“Only respect for the questions of our national interests can help halt the [fragmentation] process,” he said.

He said the Visegrad Four (V4) group, comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, can serve as an instrument in a stronger promotion of national interests in the EU.

According to The Prague Daily Monitor, Slovakia, which will take up the V4 presidency as of July, will try to push through the four countries’ joint interests within the preparation of the next EU budget and the negotiations about the EU’s new asylum rules.

“The fight for our national interests unites us,” Babis said, referring to the V4.

“I am saying, Europe, we have to find the four fundamental freedoms first, and only afterwards we should intensify our integration. This means fewer EC directives and more influence of the member states,” added Babis.

In other relate news, the two PMs also discussed cross-border transport. Pellegrini announced the plan to build a high-speed railway between Bratislava and Brno as a prolongation of the existing section between Prague and Brno. The new track would be a part of the European rail corridor connecting Belgrade and Berlin, Pellegrini said.