The Visegrád Four (V4) countries could take their cooperation to the next level by establishing a joint university, according to an editorial in Magyar Nemzet.
Political analyst István Pálffy writes that most people from Western countries have no idea what the V4 stands for, most likely assuming it’s some sort of four-cylinder engine. Few, if any, know that it also stands for the Visegrád Four group consisting of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.
That is why the Visegrád Group needs a strong academic and cultural focal point highlighting the group’s values and interests.
Western Europe is less and less knowledgeable about the other half of the continent. Many have long been confusing the capitals of Hungary and Romania, Budapest and Bucharest. Now, even renowned Western political analysts are having difficulty discerning Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Romanian Prime Minister-designate Ludovic Orban.
The V4 has, however, a new ace up its sleeve. With the resounding electoral victory of Mateusz Morawieczki’s Law and Justice party (PiS) in Poland and the upgraded role Poland will likely play in a post-Brexit European Union, the V4 suddenly has more clout.
With this new clout, V4 countries are in a better position than ever to pursue a goal as ambitious as founding an academic institution.
A V4 university could even serve as a counter-balance to George Soros’ famed Central European University. Attracting an international student body, the V4 university could offer cultural and intellectual weight to the region by focusing on academics instead of turning students into activists for progressive political causes.
The V4 cooperation is remarkably similar to its medieval precursor, the Visegrád Congress. The first Congress of Visegrád was a 1335 summit in Visegrád in which kings John I of Bohemia, Charles I of Hungary and Casimir III of Poland formed an anti-Habsburg alliance. The three leaders agreed to create new commercial routes to bypass the key trade city of Vienna and obtain easier access to other European markets.
In the same vein, nowadays Hungary and Poland mutually support each other in the show trials brought against them by Brussels. Cooperation between the four countries’ leaders is already strong, and while they don’t have identical views on every issue, they all know the region well, recognize its interests, and are cooperating in fields such as energy policy, migration and the next seven-year budget of the European Union.
What the group is lacking is a university. With the 20th anniversary of V4 cooperation in modern times taking place on February 5, 2021, it would be a fitting time to honor this alliance by establishing a world-class academic institution.
Title image: remains of the Visegrád royal castle (source: indafoto.hu/Elamy)