All the V4 countries aspired to become members of the EU, perceiving their integration in the EU as another step forward in the process of overcoming artificial dividing lines in Europe through mutual support. They reached this aim on May 1, 2004 when they all became EU members.
The V4 cooperation can currently be referred to as the most clearly profiled initiative in Central Europe. The backbone of this cooperation consists of mutual contacts at all levels from the highest-level political summits to expert and diplomatic meetings, to activities of the non-governmental associations in the region, think-tanks and research bodies, cultural institutions or numerous networks of individuals.
Cooperation between the respective ministries constitutes an important part of the activities within the V4 framework, whether at the level of the ministers or in the form of joint expert teams. A number of joint projects are currently being implemented particularly in the fields of culture, environment, internal security, defence, science and education. At the same time, cooperation in the field of justice, transportation, tourism, energy or information technologies is also intensifying.
The V4 was formed on February 15, 1991 at a meeting of the President of the former Czechoslovak Republic, Václav Havel, the President of the Republic of Poland Lech Wałęsa, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary József Antall. This high-level meeting in Visegrad, Hungary, created an imaginary historical linking with a similar meeting, which took place at the same place in 1335 and was attended by John of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia, Charles I of Anjou (Charles Robert), King of Hungary, and Casimir III, King of Poland. The central motive of the two meetings was the desire to intensify mutual cooperation and friendship among the three Central European states.
Official web pages: http://www.visegradgroup.eu/
The V4 operations are based solely on the principle of periodical meetings of the Member States' representatives on all levels (prime ministers, heads of states, ministers, experts, etc.). Official prime ministerial summit takes place on an annual basis. Between these official summits, usually in June each year, one of the V4 countries holds presidency over the group. The Presidency of the V4 countries rotates after one year.
Presidencies of the V4 for the period 2015 – 2018:
2016/2017 – Poland (July 2016 – June 2017)
2017/2018 – Hungary (July 2017 – June 2018)
2018/2019 – Slovakia (July 20168 – June 2019)
2019/2020 – Czech Republic (July 2019– June 2020)
CURRENT V4 PRESIDENCY
- Czech Republic presides the Visegrad Group from the 1st July 2019 to the 30th June 2020 and follows the Slovak presidency.
The motto of the presidency – V4 Reasonable Europe
– means that the Czech Republic will hold a rational, pragmatic and constructive approach
for dealing with challenges of not only V4 countries but also Europe.
The main aim of the Czech presidency is strengthening the position of V4 countries in EU and NATO and enhancing unity and cohesion of these organisations. The Visegrad countries should contribute to building strong, operational, competitive and safe Europe based on the values of democracy, sovereignty of law, respect to the human rights and simultaneously on the principles of subsidiarity, proportionality and sustainability.
The priorities of the Czech V4 presidency are reflected in three priority areas:
- Reasonable solutions
- Revolutionary technologies – innovation economy and its impact on society
- Reconciling approaches
Summary of the activities of the Ministry of Regional Development
Priority areas of interest of the Czech presidency are reflected in the activities of the Ministry of Regional Development.
In the cohesion policy
, the agenda focuses primarily on the preparation of the next programming period
, mainly aimed at reconciling positions of the countries and looking for penetrations for the negotiations.
In the regional development and territorial dimension
, the main priorities include integrated urban development in V4+ to improve the living space
, including the concept of Smart Cities
, the priorities will be strengthening the Visegrad cooperation under the name “Discover Central Europe”
and enhancing cooperation with commercial entities and consular offices of V4 countries for more effective promotion
of the Visegrad countries abroad.