On 19 November, CEPI Director Milan Nič took part at the Brussels presentation of the innovative Trends of the Visegrad Foreign Policy 2015 survey coordinated by our Czech partner, the Association for International Affairs (AMO), in Brussels. Hosted by the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU, if featured the results of a unique regional survey, which examined opinions of 430 foreign policy practitioners and opinion-makers from the V4 countries. Their responses were collected in July – September period, then analysed and evaluated by the research team, and subsequently presented at series of events in the V4 capitals and in Brussels. These results were presented by the head of the research team Vit Dostál (AMO) and commented by representatives from other participating organisations – Milan Nič (CEPI), Zsuzsanna Végh (CENS, Hungary), and Agnieszka Łada (IPA, Poland).
The goal of this project was to explore and compare perception of priorities among the Visegrad foreign policy elites, and to find out in which areas they converge and diverge the most, including EU policies.
The results of the Trends of the Visegrad Foreign Policy survey indicate three main results:
- Foreign policy elites of the Visegrad Group countries have relatively close world view. The most divergent views come from Hungary, which strays from the data obtained in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia on some policy areas such as Eastern policy, Russia and transatlantic relations.
- Intra-Visegrad relations are perceived as excellent, only bilateral relations with Hungary were seen as somewhat problematic. Germany was considered as the most important and best partner of Central Europe, followed by the United States.
- The Visegrad Group will probably remain a cohesive block on the EU level in some relevant issues, as perceptions of priorities on national and the EU level overlap a lot. Energy leads the way, followed by migration and (the deepening of) the single market. Foreign policy elites in all four capitals feel also their Visegrad Group membership as important, acting as a conduit for the promotion of their own national interests. They are also convinced that this regional grouping plays a constructive role on the EU level, although they are more hesitant about its real influence there.
The whole project was implemented the with kind support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Open Society Foundations, and other participating organisations were Institute of Public Affairs – IPA (Poland) and Center for EU Enlargement Studies – CENS (Hungary).