This article presents historical conditions of the birth of the Visegrad Group, pictured on the background of a wide historical panorama, including the geopolitical contexts and the heritage of the past. The author presents also the legitimacy of including Croatia into the Visegrad Group, stressing Croatia’s centuries-old connection with the Kingdom of Hungary.
This article tackles an important subject for the contemporary identity of Central Europe – the discourse on the regional unity of this part of our continent. The author analyses the views of the key intellectuals of the Central Europe of the 80’s and on their basis she draws conclusions concerning the existence of such an ideological community.
The V4 countries are still cooperating on many levels, despite some opinions, inclining the merely symbolic character of this cooperation. After 2004, there appeared analyses and studies regarding the activities of the V4 countries both in NATO and the EU, encompassing their particular actions as full members of both of these organizations. However, there still exists a need for broader promotion of the region.
After political and economic transformation, Hungary proposed, in 1991, the establishment of a cooperation involving Poland and Czechoslovakia, a project it launched in Visegrad, near Budapest, under the name “The Visegrad Three”. In 1992, Hungary was an active participant in the formation of the economic co-operation treaty – CEFTA. In 1992, Hungarian government signed the so-called “basic treaty” with Ukraine and began preparations for similar treaties with Romania and Slovakia. The treaties were signed under the Gyula Horn’s administration (1994-1998). In 1990, Hungary also declared its intention to leave the Warsaw Pact. In 1997, NATO also decided to invite Hungary to become a member. In the autumn of 1997, a referendum was held in Hungary, which supported NATO membership of the country. After signing basic treaties with Slovakia and Romania, bilateral relations rapidly developed with the newly independent Yugoslav successor states, concluding several treaties with them. It established new diplomatic missions in the region, i.e. Sarajevo, and in the Romanian city of Cluj (Hungarian: Kolozsvár). The basic treaties concluded with Slovakia and Romania also contained some provisions on the protection of minorities. An agreement on this matter was concluded with Croatia in 1995 and another was signed in 1996 with Slovenia. The engagement of Budapest into regional cooperation depends on the state of Hungarian-Slovak and Hungarian-Czech affairs, which are most difficult problems to handle and resolve. The apparent lack of “adequate enthusiasm” on behalf of the Hungarian foreign policy vis-à-vis the Visegrad Cooperation is one of the causes of the recurrence of Slovak-Hungarian tension with respect to the Hungarian minority. In 2004, both governments declared their intention to cooperate, but they have not been able to comply completely. For Hungary, the Visegrad Cooperation remains a consultative forum and a harmonization mechanism, and there is no need for lasting institutionalization of the cooperation of this regional grouping. The stipulations, or the demand for institutionalization, never arise since a strong commitment and effort would be needed for institutionalization which the Hungarian government is not able or willing to make. Foreign policy, on which the Orbán cabinet has placed a great emphasis, is embarking on its activity in that spirit. Although the last two years are not sufficient to allow us to draw any final conclusions, certain observations can be made at this early stage.
This article is an attempt to sketch a picture of the international identity of the Republic of Croatia in relation to the Visegrad Group. There exist solid foundations of shared identity as well as cooperation, thought Croatia has also other options to choose from. Owing to its geopolitical location and its history-shaped international identity, Croatia has three paths in its foreign policy: towards the Balkans, towards Central Europe, including Austria and Slovenia, and towards the Mediterranean (Italy in particular). The social and economic conditions encourage Croatia towards cooperation with the Visegrad Group. The character of the political life encourages her towards the south-east path and the states of the former Yugoslavia, while the Mediterranean path will be an alternative for Croatia in terms of its international interests.
The Visegrad Group is a platform for regional cooperation based on a common historical heritage, similar geopolitical position of the four Central European states, as well as the concurrent perception of the challenges they face. Over the past 20 years the Visegrad Group has established a tradition of cooperation between the neighbours and has been perceived as an optimal form of cooperation on a regional level. Yet, the set of values and interests common for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia is not specifi c and unique, it is shared more or less by other countries of the region and the EU. Therefore, the Visegrad Group proved successful in being a basis for wider political coalitions, particularly with other EU member states from the region. This paper presents the origins of this cooperation, its evolution prompted by the changing international position of its member countries, as well as the current challenges facing the Visegrad Group.
The Visegrad Group, formed in 1991 by Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, is an example of an inter-state multilateral cooperation based on common interests in a number of fi elds: political, economic and cultural. The Group’s international status is defi ned through its international cooperation with all types of subjects (states and international organizations), notably those in the neighborhood, and its principal aim and the imperative of its actions is to promote democracy and welfare in all parts of Europe. Since their accession to the EU in 2004, the members of the Group have been pursuing the above goals also within the Union. What is signifi cant, the presently declared intention of the Visegrad Group is to actively contribute towards building of the broadly understood European security based on eff ective, complementary and mutually reinforcement of cooperation and coordination of states, using the existing European and transatlantic institutions. In this context, the countries and societies of Eastern Europe, involved in the EU’s Eastern Partnership project aiming to create a friendly and stable international environment with a view to the so-called Wider Europe, remain an area of particular interest to the Visegrad Group.
The following papers examines the dynamics and patterns of mobility and migration between Visegrad states and Ukraine. It states that a unique area created in the region in the 90. has been diminished, however there is a huge potential for development of tourism movement, and much smaller, for labour immigration.
The article presents in a broad historical perspective a history of the Eastern Churches (Orthodox and Uniate) in the territory of Upper Hungary (i.e. today’s Slovakia) and their relations with the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kyiv. The history of both religious associations of the Byzantine tradition in the northern part of Hungary, which have strong connections with the Ruthenians in the Republic of Poland, may be an interesting example of a regional cooperation.