Foreign Ministers of V4 countries met with the representatives of Think Visegrad platform, including CEPI’s Director Milan Nič and program manager Jana Psarska, to reflect on results achieved in the Group`s existence as well as contemplate the future of the Visegrad Cooperation. The meeting took place on 18 February 2016 in Prague during a joint conference on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Visegrad Group.
Opened by a high-level panel with Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Hungary, Witold Waszczykowski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Prague conference underlined the fact that Visegrad has become a trademark and established itself as the most efficient format for political dialogue and inter-governmental cooperation in Central Europe.
Minister Waszczykowski noted that the Visegrad cooperation is without doubt one of the greatest achievements of Poland`s foreign policy and without V4 the region would remain a geopolitical buffer-zone of instability. Minister Zaorálek stated that Europe cannot succeed without a strong, cohesive and engaged Visegrad as well as Visegrad cannot succeed without a strong, cohesive and engaged EU. Minister Lajčák called for deepening of the Group`s internal cohesion, cultivating mutual solidarity and trust, and untapping the potential for deeper economic and sectoral cooperation ranging from cross-border infrastructure to education. Péter Szijjártó emphasized the need to establish a Visegrad Development Fund to foster and finance regional transport and energy infrastructure projects.
Before their panel, Foreign Ministers Zaorálek, Lajčák and Szijjártó met the representatives of the Think Visegrad platform, and were presented with the Mid-Term Review of the Czech V4 Presidency. They also discussed research topics that would bring added value to the Foreign Ministries and contribute to their work on issues of strategic importance. The Think Visegrad platform, of which CEPI is a member, last year submitted 10 short-term and 4 long-term analyses on topics assigned by V4 Foreign Ministries ranging from energy and cyber security to migration crisis. Foreign Ministers acknowledged that Think Visegrad platform continues to be a useful instrument that fosters collaboration between diplomats and the expert community in the V4 region.