Thirty years ago, on 15 February 1991, the presidents of Poland and the Czechoslovakia as well as the prime minister of Hungary signed the Declaration on Cooperation between the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Hungary in Striving for European Integration in the castle of Visegrad, Hungary.
The Declaration provided political framework for extensive cooperation between Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, and brought closer the societies of the three, and later four, countries. The original aim of cooperation was the striving for the full recovery of the states’ independence, democracy and liberty, eradication of symptoms of totalitarian regimes, construction of parliamentary democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, establishment of free market economy, comprehensive participation in the European political and economic system, as well as the security and legislative system. The accession of our countries to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and later joining the European Union, symbolically closed this first stage and opened new perspectives for the Visegrad cooperation.
Today, besides friendship and good neighbourly cooperation, the Visegrad Group countries are also united by the awareness of common social and economic challenges, understanding the value of regional solidarity, and the willingness to realise common goals of both European and foreign policy.
From a 30-year perspective, the Visegrad Group became not only one of the symbols of the new united Europe and a successful political and economic transformation of the countries of the region, but also an example of effective format of regional cooperation within the European Union which contributes to the shaping of European policies and enhancing its economic competitiveness.
However, V4 is not only about political cooperation. One of emblematic institutions of our cooperation is the International Visegrad Fund which, since its establishment in 2000, has granted nearly 2400 scholarships and supported almost 6000 projects by NGOs, local governments, scientists and artists, mainly across our four countries, but also in the Eastern Partnership and Western Balkan states.
We are pleased that the Visegrad Group’s anniversary coincided with Poland’s presidency of the Group from July 2020 until June 2021.