The recent informal summit of 27 prime ministers and heads of EU member states in Bratislava underlined the growing influence of the four Vysegrad countries on the policies and decisions of the European Union. The synergy of a closer cooperation of countries with more than 60 mil. people is increasingly being used to strengthen the impact on the decisions and future of the EU. This recent development was particularly strongly visible in the quest for a European solution of the migration policy crisis.
Against this background, some questions are raised: is it appropriate to speak about a coherent block of countries within the political framework of the EU? Is it more that unites these four countries concerning their views on the future of the EU, on broader global relations or their view on general societal developments in the Central-European region? Or is it still just an “ad-hoc” cooperation setting and these four Central-European countries differ on a wide range of basic issues of foreign policy and policy in general?
With regard to these developments, one crucial question needs to be tackled: is it in the best interest of the V4 to intensify their cooperation and form a “political block” in EU-policy matters or will they, by doing so, naturally distance themselves from other power-centers of Europe, which can harm not just the V4-countries but consequently, the European project as such.
The above outlined questions will be discussed in an international conference setting, organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, with foreign policy experts and as well with political representatives for foreign and European policy from Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
- 10:00-10:10: Welcome notes
Anne Seyfferth, Head of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Czech Republic & Slovakia
Darina Malová, Head of the Department of Political Sciences, Comenius University Bratislava
- 10:10-11:00: Keynote note
Robert Fico, Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic followed by a discussion with the students
- 11:00-12:00 Panel Discussion: Flexible solidarity? The revival of V4 cooperation within the EU
Michal Kořan, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czech Republic
Jakub Wisniewski, GLOBSEC Policy Institute, Slovakia
Zsuzsanna Végh, Central European University, Hungary
Rado Geist, Euractiv, Slovakia
Vlado Bilčík, SFPA, Slovakia