4. 6. 2012 15:49

Czech Republic passes presidency of the Visegrad Group to Poland

On Friday 22 June, Prague is to host a formal summit of prime ministers of the Visegrad Group countries. The Czech Republic, which has stood at the head of the group since last July, will hand over the presidency to Poland.

The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia will be in attendance at the V4’s Prague summit in June, and invitations have also been extended to the prime ministers of the Baltic countries.

Key issues pursued by the ending Czech presidency centred on the European agenda and the multiannual financial framework after 2013, with an emphasis on the future of the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy.

The Czech Republic also set itself the task of coordinating and promoting the common positions and opinions of the V4 countries in the European Council and its working bodies. One of the priorities was the mutual support of candidatures to EU institutions and bodies in order to ensure representation of the Visegrad Group.

Uniform EU cooperation

The Czech Republic also focused on encouraging the Group countries to share their experience of introducing European legislation, and, ahead of sectoral council sessions, held meetings to discuss key issues of common interest to all four Central European countries.

With regard to EU-related themes, an emphasis was placed on supporting Poland and its priorities at the head of the EU Council in the second half of 2011, with the Poles having decided to focus on promoting economic growth.

Common positions on energy

Besides EU issues, the Visegrad Group also concentrated on energy policy in the last year. It focused primarily on the reconciliation of common attitudes towards the EU, especially joint action to promote a common European external energy policy. The diversification of existing resources and transmission routes was also discussed.

Attention was paid to the Eastern Partnership project and development cooperation, which gives V4 countries the opportunity to offer their experience of transition.

Strengthening of stability in Central Europe

Visegrad cooperation is built primarily on regular meetings of representatives at the level of presidents, prime ministers, and ministers, as well as expert consultations. The cooperation of the Visegrad Group countries is coordinated by their foreign ministries. Individual departments hold meetings as and when required.

The Visegrad Group was established under a 1991 cooperation agreement between the then Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary, the aim of which was to unify these countries’ progress towards full integration into European structures. Since all the countries joined the European Union in 2004, they have continued to help strengthen the identity of the Central European region and to formulate and defend regional interests in the enlarged European Union.

The Visegrad Group’s activities primarily target greater stability in Central Europe. Since 2004, the V4 has also significantly expanded its foreign-policy operations, turning its attention to the promotion of cooperation and stability in the broader region of Central Europe.

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