Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

česky   english  

Advanced search

Skip to menu

Article notification Print Decrease font size Increase font size

Programme for the Czech Presidency in the Visegrad Group (2015-2016)

 

In 2016, the Visegrad Group (V4) will celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of its founding. The world, and in particular the political map of Europe, looked quite different then and now. The original focus on regional policy in Central Europe has been broadened by external aspects: nowadays the V4 works also as a platform for promoting common interests in the EU and NATO.

The basis for the Visegrad cooperation is an open, non-bureaucratic approach to the current political agenda. Besides rich contacts on various levels, the most important tool of the V4 is the International Visegrad Fund (IVF). On one hand, its grant and scholarship programs help to strengthen public diplomacy within the V4, on the other hand the IVF provides an effective support to democratization, transformation and European integration of other countries.

The slogan for the Czech V4 Presidency is “V 4 Trust”. This sums up the most important quality and added value of the Visegrad cooperation – a unique level of trust based on an open discussion and a frank exchange of views amongst partners who do not necessarily have to agree on everything but whose cooperation in certain fields may be extraordinarily productive. This is the main reason why the Visegrad Group remains the key and most important format of cooperation in Central Europe.

The main priorities of the Czech Presidency in the V4 (CZ V4 PRES) are:

  1. Togetherness of the V4: The CZ V4 PRES will develop the “infrastructure among people” and thus further contribute to mutual understanding as well as to an open, unbiased debate on common interests and to a reflection on relations within the broader Central European region. The key instrument in this regard is the International Visegrad Fund. We will also focus on adopting V4 topics into traditional and new conferences, seminars and round-tables. A panel of eminent personalities from V4 countries will be established to reflect on the prospects of V4 cooperation. The CZ V4 PRES will deepen contacts on the parliamentary level and strengthen the V4 brand internally (by further intensifying the cooperation of V4 public media, presenting a map of V4 activities etc.) and externally (e.g. broadening the cooperation in tourism).
  2. Energy: Energy has long been an important cross-sectional topic for Visegrad. In light of the current foreign affairs events, its relevance has grown even further. The key priority of the CZ V4 PRES is an implementation of the Energy Union project. Other priorities will include cooperation with third countries (Eastern Partnership, Energy Community) and an internal gas market.
  3. European Neighbourhood Policy, Enlargement Policy, Transition Support and Development Aid: The most important area of the Visegrad Group foreign policy activities has been focused on the countries of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Under the CZ V4 PRES, the V4 will pursue activities to support the European orientation of these countries. In terms of the Eastern Partnership, the CZ V4 PRES will continue with the International Visegrad Fund’s projects as well as initiatives on the governmental level (e.g. the best-practice sharing “V4 Road Show” project in Ukraine). As for the Western Balkans, the main priority is to launch the Western Balkan Fund – a project initiated during the last CZ V4 PRES 2011-2012.
  4. Security and Defence Cooperation: In accordance with the Long Term Vision of the Visegrad Countries on Deepening Their Defence Cooperation, the goal of the CZ V4 PRES will be to proceed with building up a permanent V4 military structure (a permanent regional modular force) and with harmonising national defence and acquisition plans. Under the CZ V4 PRES, series of consultation on defence topics will take place before the NATO Warsaw Summit. Since the beginning of 2016, the “V4 EU Battle Groups” will be on stand-by. The CZ V4 PRES will also focus on deepening the V4 cooperation in military education and on cyber security.
  5. Active Practising of the Solidarity Principle in the EU: In general, the V4 countries will continue with the traditional scheme of close coordination in the EU. In particular, the CZ V4 PRES will focus on V4 cooperation vis-à-vis EU legislature concerning the social dimension of the European integration and the cohesion policy.
  6. Digital agenda and Development of Infrastructure: Following the Slovak Presidency, the CZ V4 PRES will continue with deepening the V4 cooperation in the “digital agenda” and presentations of V4 start-up companies and innovative solutions. In transportation, the CZ V4 PRES will focus on road traffic safety. The V4 countries will also more closely coordinate their regional development planning.
  7. Combating Tax Fraud and Evasion: The main goal is a closer cooperation in the joint fight against so-called “carousel frauds”, particularly by a broader application of the “reverse charge” method.

The CZ V4 PRES will continue with the useful V4+ format on various levels. Two Prime Minister Summits will be organized (preferably with South Korea and the Benelux countries as guests) under the CZ V4 PRES. V4 Ministers of Foreign Affairs will meet with their counterparts from the Western Balkan, Eastern Partnership and NB8 (Nordic and Baltic) countries and Germany. Further ministerial meetings can be organized ad hoc as needed. Meetings in the V4+ format are planned by almost all ministries.

For more information on CZ V4 PRES follow this site, Twitter (#CZV4PRES) (in English) and Facebook (mzvcr) (in Czech).

attachments

Programme for the Czech Presidency of the V4 411 kB pdf (Adobe Acrobat document) Jun 22, 2015

.