Efforts to slow cooperation between Visegrad Four (V4) would be imprudent, as these countries help to develop the stability and productivity of the whole European Union more than many others, writes Czech President of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček.
Literary sources state that the idea of creating a Central European regional group of V4 countries originated in the meeting of the Central European kings in Visegrad in 1335. They agreed to cooperate in politics, trade, and to maintain an eternal friendship.
Recently, there have been suggestions on abolishing the Visegrad Group, with certain individuals going as far as labeling the group as toxic.
But let’s go back before the formation of V4 to better understand why this alliance is so vital.
The regional cooperation started in autumn 1989 as people from Central Europe began taking their fate back into their own hands. The first generation of democratic politicians accomplished a lot, including facilitating the first free elections and the start of the democratic and economic transformation process.
During this time, the V4 states also clearly articulated their foreign policy intentions, such as their efforts to enter EU and NATO structures. The states that we belonged to – Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary – succeeded because we started to cooperate and synchronize our actions.
The year of 1989 allowed Central European nations to restart free and equal cooperation with one another, and those efforts continue to prove fruitful after all these years.
The good relations within the V4 were recently confirmed at a recent meeting in Prague. The ties among V4 countries are based on good neighborliness, solidarity, respect, and authentic friendship between the politicians as well as between people.
Even though that representatives of the V4 countries at the aforementioned meeting came from different political backgrounds, Central Europe’s interests always prevailed.
In the EU, the Visegrad Group countries are capable of identifying and promoting their interests together. Thanks to the V4, the EU dealt with the migration issue in a reasonable manner despite calls for open borders. But V4 is not just an association against migration quotas.
The four countries have managed to create prosperity over the long-term with economies that show above-average economic growth and low unemployment rates – goals that would have been much harder to achieve working independently from one another. Due to the countries success in promoting sound migration policies and stable economic growth, they have helped anchor and support the EU far more than many other countries.
We ensured that the new European Commission will be more traditional while defending existing treaties, and have also helped the organization become less political and more focused on the common good for EU citizens.
We want to complete the trans-European infrastructure across Central Europe and set reasonable goals for the EU’s multiannual budget. At the same time, we want to avoid an extreme environmental policy that would cause the EU companies to lose competitiveness. We are also trying to convince skeptical EU member states that EU enlargement is the way forward.
Trying to destroy the V4 would be a serious mistake and is only pushed by those who have a negative political agenda.
The history of V4 cooperation proves the worth of the alliance. The future of the region is not only tied to V4 success but also the future of Europe. Let us not be fooled by political agitation against those who would wish to see Poland, Hungary, Czechia, and Slovakia become weak and isolated countries in Europe.