V4 have always been able to defend common interest

Alexandr Vondra recalls when they invited friends from Poland and Hungary to a conference in Bratislava.

Despite its chaotic and intellectual character, the foundation for Visegrad cooperation has been laid. We fought Turks together, we resisted Russians together – we have a lot to build on. And our present cooperation proved itself at least four times over the past 20 years.

Firstly, we persuaded Americans to enlarge NATO. Then we liberalized our trade, even before the EU market fully opened up for us. We effectively opposed Russian energy and gas games. And most recently, we have been able to bring the whole EU to its senses regarding the migration crisis and a way how to deal with it. The Visegrad Four is important.

It is idle if not mercenary talk when someone is saying it’s “toxic” just because he or she doesn’t like Orbán and Kaczynski. It is in our vital interest not to give in to such talks, we have to stay firm behind the Visegrad.

We always looked up to Poles and the Solidarity movement, said Vondra. Travelling to Poland in those times gave us a chance to breathe the freedom. It would be a waste not to build up on our dissident collaboration from the communist era that interpersonally worked great among Czech, Poles, Slovaks and Hungarians. We had to utilize that against our historical grievances.

Vondra will be one of the panellists of the international conference Poles and Czechs in Europe 1918-2018, which is a part of the sPOLeCZně (‘together’) festival.

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