After sessions in Prague and Warsaw, the Slovak Atlantic Commission held the third session of the Visegrád School of Political Studies (VSPS) in Bratislava on 16-18 July 2014. The focus was on defence and security issues. Future Visegrád leaders discussed priorities of Slovakia’s V4 presidency, V4 defence cooperation and participated in a workshop on critical thinking in decision making and mediation.
VSPS is a joint project of the Council of Europe and the European Academy of Diplomacy in Warsaw. The project is supported by the International Visegrád Fund and organised in cooperation with the Antall Jószef Knowledge Center, the Diplomatic Academy of Prague and the Slovak Atlantic Commission.
On the first day of the session, participants were officially welcomed by Róbert Vass, Vice-President  & CEO of the Central European Strategy Council, who also introduced further projects and activities of the Slovak Atlantic Commission, a member of the Central European Strategy Council along with its partner organisation, the Centre for European Affairs, and think-tank, the Central European Policy Institute.
The prospective Visegrad leaders also met Jiří Sýkora, Program Coordinator responsible for public relations who shared with them more details on functioning of the International Visegrad Fund, which has a headquarters in Bratislava. Peter Kormúth, who is responsible for Visegrad coordination at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, chaired the following session on priorities of the Slovak V4 Presidency. The session had been very timely as the Slovak Republic took over the one-year presidency in the V4 from Hungary on 1 July 2014. The first day was concluded with a very insightful and useful training on cyber security with technical fellow Peter Košinár from ESET.
During the second day of the session several separate discussions on V4 foreign policy and V4 defence cooperation were held with some of the finest senior experts from the Central European Policy Institute (CEPI). Milan Nič, executive director of CEPI, chaired the first discussion on V4 foreign policy with special attention to the position of the V4 group towards Eastern Partnership countries. The second debate with senior CEPI fellows Jaroslav Naď and Milan Šuplata was on EU battlegroup, its functioning and deployment and the V4 EU battlegroup in 2016. The series of these discussions was concluded at a simulation where participants applied their newly acquired skills and knowledge gained during the previous sessions into practice.
The last day of the session was concluded by a workshop on use of critical thinking in decision making and mediation by Dr. Nasrin Davis from the SwissInnovision. The last session of the series will take place on 24-26 September in Budapest, Hungary.