Visegrad Group is key to Central Europe's cooperation, president says
The regional Visegrad Group (V4), comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, is the main catalyst of cooperation in Central Europe, the Polish president said at a V4 meeting.
A two-day summit of the V4 presidents started in the Polish seaside resort of Jurata on Tuesday. Polish President Andrzej Duda is hosting his Czech, Hungarian and Slovak counterparts in his presidential residence in the town located in the middle of the Hel peninsula.
At a plenary session of the summit, Duda recalled this year's 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Visegrad Group.
"If we look at the three decades (...) we will see that they have been marked not only by a great economic and political success, but also by rapid social and civilisational development," the president said. "We can safely say that such a huge transformation in such a short time is a rare thing in the world."
Duda said the V4 "is a significant, if not the most significant, catalyst of regional cooperation in Central Europe," but has also "contributed to cooperation and processes concerning the EU's and Nato's policies."
Moreover, the V4 may also serve as "an attractive model both for Eastern Partnership countries and the Western Balkans," Duda said, referring to the EU's cooperation with its eastern neighbours and Balkan countries aspiring for EU membership.
"The second regional format that unites us today is the Three Seas Initiative, started in 2015," the Polish president said. "It aims to improve the transport, energy and new technologies infrastructure in our region along the North-South axis, and consequently to spur growth in our countries and improve the cohesion of the European Union."
The president recalled that the Polish southern city of Krakow will on February 17 host another V4 anniversary summit, this time to be attended by the heads of governments. The agenda will cover EU cooperation in fighting the coronavirus pandemic as well as climate and migration issues along with relations with the Eastern Partnership countries and Russia.
Set up on February 15, 1991, the Visegrad Group is an informal platform of regional cooperation between Bratislava, Budapest, Prague and Warsaw. All four V4 countries have been EU members since 2004. Poland is currently holding the Group's 12-month presidency.