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Institute for Politics and Society in cooperation with Visegrad Fund, Republikon Institute and Project: polska cordially invite you to the debate Multiple Challenges for the V4 in the context of the Europe.

The fundamental challenge for the EU is to strengthen its internal unity. More and more often Union’s member states are divided into East and West, the core and the periphery. The concept of a multi-speed Europe, advocated for example by French President Macron, has the potential to further enhance this division in the future. However, there are voices in Europe that oppose the further acceleration of the dual speed of the integration process.

Opinions on the further development and the future of the EU also differ within the Visegrad Group countries. Slovak Prime Minister Fico declared several times in the past that Slovakia wants to stand by the side of Germany and France. Moreover, Slovakia belongs to the monetary union, and it is, therefore, automatically calculated with the country in the hard core integration project. This was confirmed by the fact that the European Commission launched in 2017 proceedings on infringement of European legislation on refugees against the V4 Group to which Slovakia was not included. On the contrary, the rest of the V4 countries remain not only outside the Monetary Union but also outside the main integration stream. Poland and Hungary have been even criticized for violating the rule of law and liberal democracy, nevertheless, both countries are loud critics of the EU and call for its comprehensive reform. The Czech Republic is on the borderline. It desires to be part of the EU´s core, but in its own conception – outside of Eurozone.

What is the future of the Visegrad Group? What needs to be done to strengthen cooperation within the V4 or can further fragmentation be expected? The European Commission does not agree with the idea of multi-speed Europe, but what about Germany and France? If the project of multi-speed Europe succeeds, what impact will it have on the economy and security of the V4 countries? Is there a possibility that some members of the V4 Group will leave the EU? How will all these issues be reflected in a new EU´s budget, which is becoming a very hot topic?


Péter Balázs, Director, Center for European Neighborhood Studies (Hungary)

Maria Staszkiewicz, Director of Czech FinTech Association (Poland)

Tomáš Púchly, Analyst, F. A. Hayek Foundation (Slovak Republic)

Adam Černý, Chairman, Syndicate of Journalists (Czech Republic)

Moderator: Jan Macháček, Chairman of the Board, Institute for Politics and Society (Czech Republic)

The debate will take place on 20th May 2018 from 5 pm to 7 pm in Art Nouveau Palace Hotel (Panská 12, Prague 1).

The working language is English without translation services. The Fund is an international donor organization, established in 2000 by the governments of the Visegrad Group countries—Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to promote regional cooperation in the Visegrad region (V4) as well as between the V4 region and other countries, especially in the Western Balkan and Eastern Partnership regions. The Fund does so by awarding €8 million through grants, scholarships and artist residencies provided annually by equal contributions of all the V4 countries. Other donor countries (Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States) have provided another €6 million through various grant schemes run by the Fund since 2012.

Friedrich Naumann is a liberal foundation with over 60 years of tradition. It aims to promote values of liberal democracy, freedom of media and human rights in more than 60 countries all over the world. With safeguarding and development of its statutory projects the Friedrich Naumann wants to controbute to shaping the future. Furthermore, it assists the development of democratic and constitutional structures by supporting liberal parties, NGOs as well as talented individuals. The foundation’s central idea is the realistion of freedom and responsibility.

Republikon Institute is a liberal think tank organization based in Budapest. Independent from any political party but committed to democratic values, tolerance, and the construction of a more open society. It is the mission of Republikon to articulate new ideas, to find ways of making the values of liberal democracy, human rights and tolerance more popular and to contribute to any future coalition between parties, civil organizations and NGOs critical of the authoritarian tendencies visible in Hungary. 
Moreover, Republikon is acting as a policy watchdog. The Institute aims to influence the public debate by shedding light on the operations of the government and the different political parties. Republikon is involved in policy researches on a monthly basis and it is focusing on initiating projects that contribute to a more open, democratic and free society. The Institute is member of several European organizations active in public policy issues. It has also taken part in several EU-level projects in diverse fields such as minorities, migration, protection of human rights.

Project: polska is the common initiative of two different groups of people. The first group consists of business and media people who were in their adolescence after the collapse of Communism and the second group consists of young people from liberal youth and student associations. We think that public life in Poland needs more “project” and constructive ways of thinking. Why projects? Each project has precise aims, costs and profits. Every project has a timetable and therefore it is possible to value its success. A project can only be successful when it is created and implemented by competent persons. We want to act as a platform to give young people the chance to professionalize and to prepare – in a non-partial way – for participation in public life. We also want to give young professionals and business people, which entered the market in 1989, the chance to get involved in public issues and civil society and to pass on their skills and knowledge to the next generation. We support and advocate changes in Poland by establishing unique, independent think tanks. The main goal of our foundation is to initiate changes in Poland with the help of professionals, think tanks and projects which are promoted by civic actions of our partners.