The Visegrad Group, also known as the V4, is an informal group of countries in Central Europe: the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic, all of whom are members of the EU and NATO. They foster the same values and share a common history, culture and geographical position. The V4 creates the room for strengthened coordination with a view to finding common positions and viewpoints in relation to the current issues of both foreign and European policy, regional development and economic and cultural cooperation.
The name and symbolism of the Visegrad Group originates from a meeting between three kings in the Hungarian town of Visegrád in 1335, John of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia, Casimir III the Great, King of Poland, and Charles I, King of Hungary. The result of the meeting was the formation of a significant diplomatic alliance with an agreement on a common defence against the Habsburgs and their growing strength, which was followed by a period when all three kingdoms flourished with unprecedented economic expansion.
The V4 was originally created as the V3 after the collapse of the totalitarian Communist regimes in 1989, when the three countries decided they wished to more closely cooperate, seeking to “re-join” Europe. As early as May 1990 a meeting between the representatives of the governments of the Czechoslovak Federative Republic, Hungary and Poland was held in Bratislava, where they laid the foundations for trilateral cooperation. Václav Havel, József Antall and Lech Walesa signed the Visegrad Declaration in the historical city of Visegrad on 15th February 1991. Its objectives were to renew state sovereignty, to eliminate the remnants of the totalitarian systems, to build parliamentary democracy, to establish a modern market economy, and to fully engage in the European political, security, economic and legal systems.
The split of the Czechoslovak Federative Republic and the formation of the independent Slovak Republic and Czech Republic in 1993 changed trilateral cooperation into quadrilateral cooperation – the V4.
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