Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Visegrad Group, three decades of cooperation

Today, Wednesday, 2/17/21, starts a 30th summit of the Visegrad Group countries' leaders at the Wawel Royal Castle and the ICE Conference Center in Krakow. 

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on his Facebook page:
The fall of communism in Europe was a turning point for releasing the enormous potential hidden in Central Europe's countries. It made it possible to eliminate the tight corset of restrictions and free oneself from Soviet influence. New perspectives and challenges have opened up for Central European countries. Thirty years ago, just over a year after this historic event, a unique formula of cooperation - the Visegrad Group - was established based on a declaration signed on February 15, 1991, in the Hungarian Visegrad, a meeting place of Polish, Czech and Hungarian kings in fourteen century.
Mutual support and cooperation allowed Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to join NATO structures as early as 1999. Slovakia joined them shortly after. On the other hand, since 2004, all V4 countries are the full-fledged EU Member States, actively influencing its policies and strengthening their economic competitiveness. When Central Europe was developing supply routes from East to West, we adopted a strategy integrating the region in the North-South dimension. We could be weak alone, but as a group, we are a real force on the world's economic map. 
Today, the Visegrad Group's strength is based on the synergy of community action, a stronger negotiating position in the EU structures, and the representation of our region's interests and strategic goals in the international arena. Together, we can do more. As four sovereign states, we do not have to agree on every issue. Still, our geographical neighborhood, based on very similar historical experiences and common socio-economic challenges, make the range of our common interests wide, as evidenced by regular and active sectoral cooperation in dozens of areas, such as security, migration, and cohesion policy, but also the development of the single market and the digital economy. 
Today, the Visegrad Group comprises a region of dynamic, sustainable development, with high investment attractiveness and aspirations for creative leadership in the heart of Europe. Therefore, we enter the next decade with high aspirations and hope to continue active and practical cooperation in the Visegrad format to benefit our citizens, states, and the entire EU.
On behalf of the Polish V4 presidency and the entire Polish nation, we would like to thank you for 30 years of close and friendly cooperation!