Visegrád Group

The Visegrád Group, Visegrád Four, or V4 is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European states[1] – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, that are members of the European Union (EU) and NATO – for the purposes of advancing military, cultural, economic and energy cooperation with one another along with furthering their integration in the EU.[2]

The Group traces its origins to the summit meetings of leaders from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland held in the Hungarian castle-town of Visegrád[3] on 15 February 1991. Visegrád was chosen as the location for the 1991 meeting as an intentional allusion to the medieval Congress of Visegrád in 1335 between John I of Bohemia, Charles I of Hungary and Casimir III of Poland.

After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent members of the group, thus increasing the number of members from three to four. All four members of the Visegrád Group joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.

Visegrád Group, Visegrád Four (V4)
Logo of Visegrád Group, Visegrád Four (V4)
Logo
     Visegrád Group countries     Other member states of the European Union
     Visegrád Group countries     Other member states of the European Union
Membership
Leaders
Slovakia
Establishment15 February 1991
Area
• Total
533,615 km2 (206,030 sq mi)
Population
• 2018 census
64,320,833
• Density
120.0/km2 (310.8/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2017 estimate
• Total
$1.946 trillion (15th)
• Per capita
US$30,295

Historical background

The name of the Group is derived, and the place of meeting selected, from the 1335 Congress of Visegrád held by the Bohemian (Czech), Polish, and Hungarian rulers in Visegrád. Charles I of Hungary, Casimir III of Poland, and John of Bohemia agreed to create new commercial routes to bypass the city of Vienna, a staple port (which required goods to be off-loaded and offered for sale in the city), and to obtain easier access to other European markets. The recognition of Czech sovereignty over the Duchy of Silesia was also confirmed. The second Congress took place in 1339, where it was decided that after the death of Casimir III of Poland, the son of Charles I of Hungary, Louis I of Hungary, would become King of Poland provided that Casimir did not have a son.[4]

From the 1500s, large parts of the present-day countries became part of or were influenced by the Vienna-based Habsburg Monarchy, until after the end of World War I and the dissolution of the Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary. After World War II, the countries became satellite states of the Soviet Union as the Polish People's Republic, the Hungarian People's Republic and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. In 1989 came the Fall of the Berlin Wall and after the Fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, and by 1990, the three Communist People's Republics ended. In December, 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. In between, the Visegrád Group was established on 15 February 1991.[5]

The group was referred to as the Visegrád Triangle prior to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

Economies

Foundation of the Visegrád Group.tiff
The Visegrád Group signing ceremony in February 1991

All four nations in the Visegrád Group are high-income countries with a very high Human Development Index. V4 countries have enjoyed more or less steady economic growth for over a century.[6] In 2009, Slovakia adopted the euro as its official currency and is the only member in the Group to do so.

If counted as a single nation state, the Visegrád Group would be the fifth largest economy in Europe and the 12th largest in the world.[7]

Based on gross domestic product per capita (PPP) estimated figures for the year 2018, the most developed country in the grouping is the Czech Republic (US$36,784 per capita), followed by Slovakia (US$35,095 per capita), Poland (US$31,430 per capita) and Hungary (US$31,370 per capita). The average GDP (PPP) in 2018 for the entire group is estimated at around US$32,500.

Within the EU, the V4 countries are pro-nuclear power, and are seeking to expand or found (in the case of Poland) a nuclear power industry. They have sought to counter what they see as an anti-nuclear power bias within the EU, believing their countries would benefit from nuclear power's zero emissions and high reliability.[8][9]

Czech Republic

Prague (6365119737)
Prague, Czech Republic

The economy of the Czech Republic is the group's second largest (GDP PPP of US$359.054 billion[10] total, ranked 50th in the world). Before the Second World War, Czechoslovakia was one of the most advanced countries in the world. However, the subsequent 41 years of socialism with communist leadership had a significant impact on the country's economy. Since the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993 the Czech Republic has successfully transformed itself into a free market economy. Today, the Czech Republic is a highly industrialized country and is, according to the World Bank, one of the world's thirty most developed countries.

The principal industries in the Czech Republic are machinery (transportation, electronics), chemical industry, metallurgy and food processing. Other major industry sectors are energy, construction and retail. The arms and glass industry are less important, however they have a long tradition in Bohemia. Industry accounts for 35% of the Czech economy. The Czech Republic is the second biggest producer of cars per capita, first being Slovakia. The main producers are Škoda Auto, Peugeot-Citroen, Toyota and Hyundai. Other major companies include ČEZ (biggest company in Central and Eastern Europe), Škoda Works (manufacturer of rail vehicles), Panasonic (electronics), Tatra (heavy truck manufacturer), ArcelorMittal (metallurgy), PPF (largest Central European investment group) Pilsner Urquell (brewing) Aero (aerospace).

Hungary

Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest at night
Budapest, Hungary

Hungary has the group's third largest economy (total GDP of US$265.037 billion, 57th in the world). Hungary was one of the more developed economies of the Eastern bloc. With about $18 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) since 1989, Hungary has attracted over one-third of all FDI in central and eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union. Of this, about $6 billion came from American companies. Now it is an industrial agricultural state. The main industries are engineering, mechanical engineering (cars, buses), chemical, electrical, textile, and food industries. The services sector accounted for 64% of GDP in 2007 and its role in the Hungarian economy is steadily growing.

The main sectors of Hungarian industry are heavy industry (mining, metallurgy, machine and steel production), energy production, mechanical engineering, chemicals, food industry, and automobile production. The industry is leaning mainly on processing industry and (including construction) accounted for 29.32% of GDP in 2008.[11] The leading industry is machinery, followed by the chemical industry (plastic production, pharmaceuticals), while mining, metallurgy and textile industry seemed to be losing importance in the past two decades. In spite of the significant drop in the last decade, the food industry still contributes up to 14% of total industrial production and amounts to 7-8% of the country's exports.[12]

Agriculture accounted for 4.3% of GDP in 2008 and along with the food industry occupied roughly 7.7% of the labor force.[13][14]

Tourism employs nearly 150,000 people and the total income from tourism was 4 billion euros in 2008.[15] One of Hungary's top tourist destinations is Lake Balaton, the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe, with 1.2 million visitors in 2008. The most visited region is Budapest; the Hungarian capital attracted 3.61 million visitors in 2008. Hungary was the world's 24th most visited country in 2011.[16]

Poland

Panorama of Warsaw by night (cropped)
Warsaw, Poland

Poland has the region's largest economy (GDP PPP total of US$1.193 trillion,[17] ranked 21st in the world). According to the United Nations and the World Bank, it is a high-income country[18] with a high quality of life and a very high standard of living.[19][20] The Polish economy is the sixth-largest in the EU and one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, with a yearly growth rate of over 3.0% before the late-2000s recession. Poland is the only European Union member to have avoided a decline in GDP, and in 2009 created the most GDP growth in the EU. As of December 2009, the Polish economy had not entered recession nor contracted. According to Poland's Central Statistical Office, in 2011 the Polish economic growth rate was 4.3%, the best result in the entire EU. The largest component of its economy is the service sector (67.3%), followed by industry (28.1%) and agriculture (4.6%). Since increased private investment and EU funding assistance, Poland's infrastructure has developed rapidly.

Poland's main industries are mining, machinery (cars, buses, ships), metallurgy, chemicals, electrical goods, textiles, and food processing. The high-technology and IT sectors are also growing with the help of investors such as Google, Toshiba, Dell, GE, LG, and Sharp. Poland is a producer of many electronic devices and components.[21] Mineral extraction includes black and brown coal, copper, lead, zinc, salt, sulfur, magnesite, kaolin, and small amounts of oil and natural gas.

Slovakia

Bratislava Panorama R01
Bratislava, Slovakia

The smallest, but still considerably powerful V4 economy is that of Slovakia (GDP of US$158.428 billion total, 70th in the world).[22] Czechoslovakia was the most developed country of the Eastern Bloc when the Communism ruled in Central Europe. The first years after the revolution in 1989 saw a stagnation. At the end of the 1990s, the economy grew and attracted considerable investment from abroad. Slovakia produces the most cars per capita of any country in the world, over 1 million cars per year.

Demographics

The population is 64,301,710 inhabitants, which would rank 22nd largest in the world and 4th in Europe (very similar in size to France, Italy or the UK) if V4 were a single country. Most people live in Poland (38 million),[23] followed by the Czech Republic (nearly 11 million),[24] Hungary (nearly 10 million)[25] and Slovakia (5.5 million).[26]

V4 capitals

  • Budapest (Hungary) - 1,759,407 inhabitants (metro - 3,303,786)
  • Warsaw (Poland) - 1,753,977 inhabitants (metro - 3,105,883)
  • Prague (Czech Republic) - 1,267,449 inhabitants (metro - 2,156,097)
  • Bratislava (Slovakia) - 432,801 inhabitants (metro - 659,578)

Other important cities

Rotating presidency

V4 Prague 2015-12-03 - Viktor Orbán (3)
Visegrád Group leaders' meeting in Prague, 2015

The country holding the Group's presidency changes each year, in July:

  • 1991–1992 Czechoslovakia
  • 1992–1993 Poland
  • 1993–1994 Hungary
  • 1994–1995 Slovakia
  • 1995–1996 Czech Republic
  • 1996–1997 Poland
  • 1997–1998 Hungary
  • 1998–1999 Slovakia
  • 1999–2000 Czech Republic
  • 2000–2001 Poland
  • 2001–2002 Hungary
  • 2002–2003 Slovakia
  • 2003–2004 Czech Republic
  • 2004–2005 Poland
  • 2005–2006 Hungary
  • 2006–2007 Slovakia
  • 2007–2008 Czech Republic
  • 2008–2009 Poland
  • 2009–2010 Hungary
  • 2010–2011 Slovakia
  • 2011–2012 Czech Republic
  • 2012–2013 Poland
  • 2013–2014 Hungary
  • 2014–2015 Slovakia
  • 2015–2016 Czech Republic
  • 2016–2017 Poland
  • 2017–2018 Hungary
  • 2018–2019 Slovakia

Current leaders

International Visegrád Fund

Suza drotarska
SÚZA in Bratislava, former seat of the International Visegrád Fund (2000–2006).

The only solid organization of the Visegrád co-operation is the International Visegrád Fund (IVF), established in 1999, with its seat in Bratislava. According to a decision of the prime ministers, the Fund has an annual budget of EUR 8 million as of 2014. With more than 11 annual deadlines and irregular calls for proposals the fund awards grants, scholarships and research fellowships, and artist residencies. Main recipients of its funding are citizens and non-governmental organizations from the V4 region, as well as countries of the Western Balkans, the Eastern Partnerships, and other countries.

Initiatives

Visegrád Fund-Вишеградски фонд
Visegrád Fund building in Bratislava.

Defence Cooperation

Visegrád Battlegroup

On 12 May 2011, Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich said that Poland will lead a new EU Battlegroup of the Visegrád Group. The decision was made at the V4 defence ministers' meeting in Levoča, Slovakia, and the battlegroup became operational and was placed on standby in the first half of 2016. The ministers also agreed that the V4 militaries should hold regular exercises under the auspices of the NATO Response Force, with the first such exercise to be held in Poland in 2013. The battlegroup included members of V4 and Ukraine.[27] Another V4 EU Battlegroup will be formed in the second semester of 2019.[28]

Other cooperation areas

On 14 March 2014, in response to the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, a pact was signed for a joint military body within the European Union.[29] Subsequent Action Plan defines these other cooperation areas:[30]

  • Defence Planning
  • Joint Training and Exercises
  • Joint Procurement and Defence Industry
  • Military Education
  • Joint Airspace Protection
  • Coordination of Positions
  • Communication Strategy

Expert Working Group on Energy

In 2002 Hungary initiated establishment of an Expert Working Group on Energy. This expert group meets once or twice a year in V4 capitals on a rotation basis, and the head of the host country delegation always chairs the meeting.

On 27 April 2006 the Working Group met in Prague with the aim of discussing recommendations for V4 energy ministers concerning topics negotiated at ministerial level meetings. The WG elaborated recommendations concerning four groups of problems:

  • Recommendations of general nature in the sphere of energy policy, including energy research and development.
  • Recommendation to consider development of emergency natural gas storage.
  • Recommendation to consider construction of new gas and oil pipelines and of new marine LNG terminals.
  • Recommendations in the field of interconnecting power transmission grids.

Visegrad Patent Institute

Created by an agreement signed in Bratislava on February 26, 2015, the Institute aims at operating as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authorities (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) as from July 1, 2016.

Neighbor relations

European Union

All members of the V4 are Member states of the European Union since the 2004 enlargement of the European Union and are also members of the Schengen Area since 2007.

Austria

Austerlitz-Format
The countries participating in the Austerlitz format. (From North to South: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria.)

Austria is the Visegrád Group's southwestern neighbor. The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria launched the Austerlitz format for the three countries in early 2015. The first meeting in this format took place on January 29, 2015 in Slavkov u Brna (Austerlitz) in the Czech Republic. Petr Drulák, the deputy minister of the Czech Republic, emphasized that the Austerlitz format was not a competition, but an addition to the Visegrád group.[31]

The leadership of the Freedom Party of Austria, the junior partner in the Austrian coalition government, has expressed its willingness to closely cooperate with the Visegrád Group.[32] Chancellor and leader of the Austrian People's Party Sebastian Kurz wants to act as bridge builder between the east and the west.[33]

Germany

Germany, Visegrad Group's western neighbor, is a key economic partner of the group and vice versa, while "Germany’s trade and investment flows with the V4 are greater than with China" as of 2018.[34]

Non-EU

Poland borders non-EU countries Belarus and the Russian enclave Kaliningrad on the east, while Hungary, Poland and Slovakia border Ukraine on their east. The Czech Republic is fully surrounded by other EU members. Hungary borders Serbia on the south, which is a candidate for EU accession.

Ukraine

Ukraine, an eastern neighbor of the V4 that is not a member of the EU, is one of largest recipients of the International Visegrad Fund support and receives assistance from the Visegrad Group for its aspirations to European integration.[35] Ukraine joined the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU and therefore with the V4 in 2016.[36]

Country comparison

Name Czech Republic Hungary Poland Slovakia
Official name Czech Republic (Česká republika) Hungary (Magyarország) Republic of Poland (Rzeczpospolita Polska) Slovak Republic (Slovenská republika)
Coat of Arms Coat of arms of the Czech Republic.svg Coat of arms of Hungary.svg Herb Polski.svg Coat of arms of Slovakia.svg
Flag Czech Republic Hungary Poland Slovakia
Population 10,610,947 9,830,485 38,433,600 5,435,343
Area 78,866 km2 (30, 450 sq mi) 93,028 km2 (35,919 sq mi) 312,696 km2 (120,733 sq mi) 49,035 km2(18,933 sq mi)
Population Density 134/km2 (347.1/sq mi) 105.9/km2 (274.3/sq mi) 123/km2 (318.6/sq mi) 111/km2 (287.5/sq mi)
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic Unitary Semi-presidential constitutional republic Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Capital  Prague – 1,294,513 (2,594,325) Metro  Budapest – 1,759,407 (2,524,697 Metro)  Warsaw – 1,764,615 (3,100,844 Metro)  Bratislava – 429,564 (659,578 Metro)
Largest City
Official language Czech (de facto and de jure) Hungarian (de facto and de jure) Polish (de facto and de jure) Slovak (de facto and de jure)
First Leader Bořivoj I, Duke of Bohemia (first historically documented Duke of Bohemia, 867–889) Grand Prince Árpád (traditional first leader of tribal principality, 895–907)
King St. Stephen (of Christian kingdom, 997–1038)
Duke Mieszko I (traditional first leader of unified state, 960–992) Pribina (traditional ancestor, ?–861)
Current Head of Government Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO 2011; 2017–present) Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Fidesz; 1998–2002, 2010–present) Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (Law and Justice; 2017–present) Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Direction – Social Democracy; 2018–present)
Current Head of State President Miloš Zeman (Czech Social Democratic Party; 2013–present) President János Áder (Fidesz; 2012–present) President Andrzej Duda (Law and Justice; 2015–present) President Andrej Kiska (Independent; 2014–present)
Main religions 44.7% undeclared, 34.5% irreligious, 10.5% Roman Catholic, 2% other Christians, 0.7% others 38.9% Catholicism (Roman, Greek), 13.8% Protestantism (Reformed, Evangelical), 0.2% Orthodox, 0.1% Jewish, 1.7% other, 16.7% Non-religious, 1.5% Atheism, 27.2% undeclared 87.58% Roman Catholic, 7.10% Opting out of answer, 1.28% Other faiths, 2.41% Irreligious, 1.63% Not stated 62% Roman Catholic, 5.9% Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia, 3.8% Slovak Greek Catholic Church, 1.8% Reformed churches, 0.9% Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church, 0.3% Jehovah's Witnesses, 0.2% Evangelical Methodist, 10.6% not specified, 13.4% no religion
Ethnic groups 64% Czechs, 26% unspecified, 5% Moravians, 1.4% Slovaks, 0.4% Poles, 3.2% other 83.7% Hungarian, 3.1% Roma, 1.3% German, 14.7% not declared 98% Poles, 2% other or undeclared 80.7% Slovaks, 8.5% Hungarians, 2.0% Roma, 0.6% Czechs, 0.6% Rusyns, 0.1% Ukrainians, 0.1% Germans, 0.1% Poles, 0.1% Moravians, 7.2% unspecified
GDP (nominal) $237.997 billion, $22,468 per capita $132.683 billion, $13,487 per capita $614.190 billion, $16,179 per capita $111 billion, $20, 508 per capita
External debt (nominal) $4,322.4 billion (2017 Q4) – 84.3 % of GDP $32.600 billion (2012 Q4) – 80 % of GDP $362.000 billion (2017 Q4) – 80 % of GDP $118,137 billion – 110.8 % of GDP
GDP (PPP) $368.659 billion, $36,784 per capita $265.037 billion, $26,941 per capita $1.193 trillion, $31,430 per capita $191 billion, $35,095 per capita
Currency Czech koruna (Kč) – CZK Hungarian forint (Ft) – HUF Polish złoty (zł) – PLN Euro (€) – EUR
Human Development Index 0.878 (very high, 27th)
0.840 (IHDI, 15th)
0.828 (very high, 45th)
0.772 (IHDI, 30th)
0.855 (very high, 33rd)
0.787 (IHDI, 28th)
0.845 (very high, 38th)
0.797 (IHDI, 24th)

See also

Other groups in Central Europe

Similar groups

Other

References

  1. ^ http://www.visegradgroup.eu/about
  2. ^ "The Bratislava Declaration of the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Visegrád Group". Official web portal of the Visegrád Group. Archived from the original on 24 August 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  3. ^ Engelberg, Stephen (17 February 1991). "Three Eastern European Leaders Confer, Gingerly". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
  4. ^ Szabadság - szabadsag.ro - A visegrádi négyek és az új évezred kihívásai - 19 May 2011
  5. ^ Szabadság - szabadsag.ro - A visegrádi négyek és az új évezred kihívásai - 19 May 2011
  6. ^ "Aggregate And Per Capita GDP in Europe, 1870-2000: Continental, Regional and National Data With Changing Boundaries, Stephen Broadberry University of Warwick" (PDF). Dev3.cepr.org. 27 October 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  7. ^ European Union. "The Visegrád Group – Growth Engine of Europe", international conference Speech by Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy. Budapest: 24 June 2014
  8. ^ "Visegrád group backs nuclear energy". China.org.cn. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  9. ^ "Don't impede our nuclear, V4 tells EU". World-nuclear-news.org. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  10. ^ "V4". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Elemzői reakciók az ipari termelési adatra (Analysts' Reaction on Industrial Production Data)" (in Hungarian). 7 April 2009. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
  12. ^ "Food Industry". Itdh.com. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
  13. ^ "Value and distribution of gross value added by industries". Hungarian Central Statistical Office. 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  14. ^ "Number of employed persons by industries". Hungarian Central Statistical Office. 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  15. ^ "Táblamelléklet (Tables)" (PDF). Hungarian Central Statistical Office. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
  16. ^ "UNWTO World Tourism Barometer" (PDF). World Tourism Organisation. January 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  17. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Country and Lending Groups | Data". Data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  19. ^ "SPI PROGRESS INDEX 2015". Archived from the original on 17 December 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Quality of Life Index by Country 2017 Mid-Year". Numbeo.com. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  21. ^ Toshiba Invests in a Subsidiary of LG.Philips LCD in Poland. eCoustics.com (2006-10-10). Retrieved on 2013-07-19.
  22. ^ "IMF -- International Monetary Fund Home Page". Imf.org.
  23. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). Web.archive.org. 16 January 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  24. ^ "Czech Republic Population 2016". World Population Review. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  25. ^ "2011. ÉVI NÉPSZÁMLÁLÁS : 3. Országos adatok" (PDF). Ksh.hu. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  26. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ Visegrad grounds of Ukraine. Mirror Weekly. May 13, 2011
  28. ^ "Bratislava Declaration of the Visegrád Group Heads of Government on the Deepening V4 Defence Cooperation". Visegradgroup.eu. Visegrád Group. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  29. ^ "Today's Stock Market News and Analysis". Nasdaq.com. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  30. ^ "Visegrad Group Defence Cooperation". Visegrad Group. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  31. ^ Schubert, Gerald (11 April 2015). "Österreich, Tschechien, Slowakei: Gemeinsame Politik im Austerlitz-Format" (in German). Der Standard.
  32. ^ Stephan Löwenstein. Zwischen Wien und Budapest. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Published on 15.10.2017.
  33. ^ Alexe, Dan (1 February 2018). "Kurz and Orban want to clip Brussels' power, but Austria will not join Visegrad Four". New Europe. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  34. ^ Germany’s troubled relations with the Visegrad states show the limits to its power. The Economist. Jun 14th 2018.
  35. ^ Claudia Patricolo. Ukraine looks to revive V4 membership hopes as Slovakia takes over presidency. emerging-europe.com. July 29, 2018.
  36. ^ EU-Ukraine free trade 'set for 2016' - President Poroshenko. BBC News. 17 November 2015.

External links

2004 enlargement of the European Union

The 2004 enlargement of the European Union was the largest single expansion of the European Union (EU), in terms of territory, number of states, and population to date; however, it was not the largest in terms of gross domestic product. It occurred on 1 May 2004.

The simultaneous accessions concerned the following countries (sometimes referred to as the "A10" countries): Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Seven of these were part of the former Eastern Bloc (of which three were from the former Soviet Union and four were and still are members of the Central European alliance Visegrád Group), one of the former Yugoslavia (together sometimes referred to as the "A8" countries), and the remaining two were Mediterranean islands and former British colonies.

Part of the same wave of enlargement was the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, who were unable to join in 2004, but, according to the Commission, constitute part of the fifth enlargement.

AHICE

The AHICE project (Art Historian Information from Central Europe) is a supraregional art and heritage news service, bringing together almost 170 partners from the Visegrád Group countries. Its aim is to facilitate access to information about events in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The ICC’s institutional partners in the AHICE project are the Moravian Gallery (Czech Republic), the Department of Art History at Comenius University (Slovakia) and the National Office of Cultural Heritage (Hungary). The service is a project of the International Culture Center in Cracow.

Central Europe

Central Europe is the region comprising the central part of Europe. Central Europe occupies continuous territories that are otherwise sometimes considered parts of Western Europe, Southern Europe, and Eastern Europe. The concept of Central Europe is based on a common historical, social, and cultural identity.Central Europe is going through a "strategic awakening", with initiatives such as the Central European Initiative (CEI), Centrope, and the Visegrád Four Group. While the region's economies shows considerable disparities of income, all the Central European countries are listed by the Human Development Index as very highly developed.

Central and Eastern Europe

Central and Eastern Europe, abbreviated CEE, is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe (the Visegrád Group), the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Southeastern Europe (Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc (Warsaw Pact) in Europe. Scholarly literature often uses the abbreviations CEE or CEEC for this term. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also uses the term "Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs)" for a group comprising some of these countries.

Craiova Group

The Craiova Group (Quadrilateral) is a cooperation project of four European states – Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia – for the purposes of furthering their European integration as well as economic, transport and energy cooperation with one another. The Group originated in a summit meeting of the heads of governments of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, held on 24 April 2015 in the Romanian city of Craiova. At the group's inaugural meeting, Romania's then-Prime Minister Victor Ponta indicated that he was inspired by the Visegrád Group. Romania and Bulgaria both joined the European Union on 1 January 2007, while Serbia has been in accession negotiations since January 2014. Since October 2017 at the meeting in Varna, Bulgaria, with the inclusion of Greece, meetings have been quadrilateral.One of the first initiatives, after a meeting in Vidin, Bulgaria, was to strengthen the telecommunication networks in the border areas of the countries. Other goals include helping Serbia join the European Union and the construction of a motorway linking Bucharest, Sofia and Belgrade.On 2 November 2018, Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov stated that Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras proposed joint bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup by Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Greece during the meeting in Thessaloniki. Later, this was expanded with proposed bids for UEFA Euro 2028 and UEFA Euro 2032.

Denmark–Slovakia relations

Denmark – Slovakia relations refers to the current and historical relations between Denmark and Slovakia. Denmark has an embassy in Bratislava. Slovakia has an embassy in Copenhagen. The relations between Denmark and Slovakia are described as good and friendly. Denmark has a trade office in Slovakia. Both countries are full members of the European Union and NATO. On 4 September 2002, a Memorandum Of Understanding between the two countries, were signed.

International Visegrád Day

International Visegrád Day is a day celebrated on the 15th of February every year. It was initiated by the International Visegrád Fund along with public service media from Visegrád Group countries (Telewizja Polska, Polskie Radio, Česká televize, Český rozhlas, Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska, Médiaszolgáltatás-támogató és Vagyonkezelő Alap). Established by Memorandum of Understanding between public service media form Visegrád Group countries signed at 18 June 2015.The day commemorates the anniversary of meeting of presidents of Poland, Czechoslovakia and prime minister of Hungary at Visegrád Castle on 15 February 1991. The aim of establishing the day is to underline historical and social ties binding people and institutions of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary and to promote their present cooperation. Public service media of Visegrád Group countries celebrate this day by broadcasting content that support cooperation between these four states and underline common issues and problems.The first Visegrád Day was celebrated at 15 February 2016, on 25th anniversary of meeting of presidents of Poland, Czechoslovakia and prime minister of Hungary in 1991.

List of companies of Slovakia

Slovakia is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The capital and largest city is Bratislava. The official language is Slovak.

Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy with a very high Human Development Index, a very high standard of living and performs favourably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance and peacefulness. The country maintains a combination of market economy with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone on 1 January 2009. Slovakia is also a member of the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD, the WTO, CERN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group. The Slovak economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and 3rd fastest in eurozone. Its legal tender, the Euro, is the world's 2nd most traded currency. Although regional income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes. In 2016, Slovak citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 165 countries and territories, ranking the Slovak passport 11th in the world. Slovakia is the world’s biggest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000 cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone. The car industry represents 43 percent of Slovakia’s industrial output, and a quarter of its exports.

For further information on the types of business entities in this country and their abbreviations, see "Business entities in Slovakia".

Mateusz Morawiecki

Mateusz Jakub Morawiecki (born 20 June 1968) is a Polish politician, historian and economist serving as the 17th and current Prime Minister of Poland since 2017. He previously served in the cabinet of Prime Minister Beata Szydło as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Development and Minister of Finance. From 2007 to 2015, Morawiecki was chairman of Bank Zachodni WBK.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Slovakia)

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (Slovak: Ministerstvo zahraničných vecí a európskych záležitostí) is responsible for maintaining the Slovak Republic's external relations and the management of its international diplomatic missions. The ministry's director is Miroslav Lajčák.

Nouvelle Europe

Nouvelle Europe is a Paris-based organization founded in 2003 by Philippe Perchoc, a researcher at the European Parliament and lecturer at College of Europe and Université catholique de Louvain, and by Thomas Kurkdjian, a French civil servant.

Nouvelle Europe organizes regular conferences, debates and so-called s(t)imulation seminars with school classes to simulate the European Parliament or the Council of the European Union. Their events – which mostly take place in Paris, but also in cities such as Istanbul, Kaliningrad or Dnipro – cover topics related to the EU and its neighbourhood, with a particular focus on Central and Eastern Europe (such as the Visegrád Group), since Nouvelle Europe was born out of the motivation to foster greater understanding of the countries covered by the 2004 enlargement of the European Union.

The name Nouvelle Europe, which is French for 'New Europe', refers to this geographical region of Central and Eastern Europe, and is a term coined by Czech statesman and philosopher Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.Many of Nouvelle Europe’s events are co-sponsored by the European Parliament, Sorbonne University, Sciences Po, Arte, Radio France Internationale and other institutions.

Nuclear energy in Slovakia

Slovakia has four operational nuclear reactors, commissioned between 1984 and 1999 and with a combined net power capacity of 1,815 MWe. Nuclear power produces approximately 52% of the country’s electricity. Of Slovakia's seven reactors, the three oldest ones have shut down. However, the government is committed to nuclear power, and two more reactors have been under construction at Mochovce since 1985.Prior to its accession to the European Union, Slovakia had to shut down two of its older reactors at Bohunice, because they did not meet European safety standards according to one source. Slovakia spent significant effort to achieve WANO standards, but the EU insisted on the shutdowns. The first plant closed 31 December 2006 and the second on the last day of 2008. The closure of these units, prior to the completion of two new reactors has left the country short on power and Slovakia became an energy importer after the first plant was shut down.Within the EU, Slovakia is one of the pro-nuclear Visegrád Group nations.The two planned reactors at Mochovce are to be of capacity of MWe 405 each and completion dates of 2012 and 2013. Italian power company Enel, a majority shareholder of the Slovak power company, plans investment of €1.6 billion for completion of the Mochovce Nuclear Power Plant units 3 and 4 by 2011–2012. In January 2006 the Slovak government approved a new energy strategy incorporating these plans, with capacity uprates at Mochovce NPP units 1 and 2, and at Bohunice Nuclear Power Plant units 3 and 4.Radioactive waste in Slovakia is disposed without reprocessing. The spent fuel stays at the reactor site; however, some spent fuel has been exported to Russia. Slovakia has also begun a search for a high-level waste repository and established a fund with approximately €775 million to build it.

Outline of the Czech Republic

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Czech Republic:

The Czech Republic (also known as Czechia) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into its constituent states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic is bordered by Poland to the north, Germany to the west, Austria to the south and Slovakia to the east. Its capital and largest city, with 1.3 million inhabitants, is Prague. It is a pluralist multi-party parliamentary representative democracy, a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the Visegrád Group.

Platform of European Memory and Conscience

The Platform of European Memory and Conscience is an educational project of the European Union bringing together government institutions and NGOs from EU countries active in research, documentation, awareness raising and education about the crimes of totalitarian regimes. Its membership include 55 government agencies and NGOs from 13 EU member states as well as from the United States, such as the Institute of National Remembrance, the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, the Stasi Records Agency and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. The platform has offices in Prague and Brussels. The President of the platform is Łukasz Kamiński, former President of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance.

The platform was founded in Prague on the occasion of the summit of Prime Ministers of the Visegrád Group on 14 October 2011. The signing ceremony took place in the Lichtenstein Palace under the auspices of Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas, Polish Prime Minister and President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Its goal is described as helping "prevent intolerance, extremism, anti-democratic movements and the recurrence of any totalitarian rule in the future."The initiative was originally proposed by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and the Government of the Czech Republic, and the 2008 Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism; on 2 April 2009, the European Parliament passed a resolution in favour of the initiative, and in June 2009, the Council of the European Union welcomed the initiative. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience was founded as an initiative of the Polish EU presidency in 2011, after the project had been promoted by the Czech EU presidency already in 2009 and by the Hungarian EU presidency in 2011. The secretariat of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience was originally hosted by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, and the platform has received a strategic grant from the International Visegrád Fund. The founding institutions included government agencies of the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, as well as several NGOs. The organisation's strategic partners include the International Visegrád Fund and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The motto of the platform is "democracy matters."

Polish Merchant Navy

The Polish Merchant Navy (Polish: Polska Marynarka Handlowa, PMH) was created in the interwar period when the Second Polish Republic regained independence.

During World War II, many ships of the Polish Navy joined the Allied merchant navy and its convoys, as part of the Polish contribution to World War II.

After the war, the Polish Merchant Navy was controlled by the People's Republic of Poland and after 1989, by modern Poland.

The Slavkov Declaration

The "Austerlitz format" or "North-Trilateral" or "Slavkov trilateral" is a loose cooperation between the Central European States Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria.

Visegrád

Visegrád (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈviʃɛɡraːd]) is a small castle town in Pest County, Hungary. It is north of Budapest on the right bank of the Danube in the Danube Bend. It had a population of 1,864 in 2010. Visegrád is famous for the remains of the Early Renaissance summer palace of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and the medieval citadel.

Visegrád Battlegroup

The Visegrád Battlegroup or V4 EU Battlegroup is an EU Battlegroup led by Poland, in which the other fellow Visegrád Group countries – the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary participate. It was on standby from 1 January until 30 June 2016 and is scheduled to go on standby from 1 July until 31 December 2019 and in the first half of 2023.

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