The Visegrád Four (V4) group is celebrating 30 years of its existence this year. The four heads of government of the alliance — Mateusz Morawiecki, Andrej Babiš, Igor Matovich and Viktor Orbán — met together with President of the European Council Charles Michel in Kraków. The Hungarian prime minister called the group the “core of Europe”.
The group was formed to provide the four countries a platform for mutual discussion and cooperation as they set out on their successful road to NATO and EU membership, and in recent years, towards economic growth. The countries have asserted a distinctive approach on issues such as migration and the single market within the European Union.
At yesterday’s event in Kraków the four signed a “Declaration on Digital policy”, a policy area which is being prioritized within the European Union and which involves increasing the size of the annual V4 fund to €10 million to fund youth exchanges and promote the region.
They also signed a declaration reaffirming their vow to work together within the EU and NATO, as well as other international forums on issues such as the pandemic, economic and social development, innovation, environment, energy, transport, security, and international development and solidarity.
?? ?? ?? ?? Szefowie rządów państw #GrupaWyszehradzka #V4 podpisali Deklarację Rocznicową i Deklarację Cyfrową. #30latV4 pic.twitter.com/rxU8NcfWOO
— Kancelaria Premiera (@PremierRP) February 17, 2021
The declaration commits the four countries to work on the expansion and deepening of the EU’s single market and the removal of barriers to its development. The leaders also agreed to further regional, urban, and cross-border cooperation in order to achieve social and territorial cohesion in the region.
They backed diversification of energy sources as well as climate goals of the EU but emphasized the need to secure external borders to make the Schengen agreement functional again.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki looked back on the 30 years of the existence of the group as a “story about unifying Europe and great ambitions”. He said the V4 states had returned to a place they had been deprived of as a result of the Second World War and communism.
He argued that the last five years have seen the region strengthen its cooperation and economic development markedly so that today it is seen as “an economic engine of the whole of Europe”.
Orban has also written an article celebrating the 30-year alliance and underlined the common bonds that tie the region together, underlining its shared fight for Christian values, its struggle against communism, and current rejection of open borders.
Title image: Prime ministers from Central Europe Igor Matovic of Slovakia, left; Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland, center right; The Czech Republic’s Andrej Babis, second right and Viktor Orbán of Hungary, right, with European Council President Charles Michel, center left, following a news conference at a meeting marking 30 years of Central Europe’s informal body of cooperation called the Visegrád Group, at a conference center in Kraków, Poland, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021