The Institute for Politics and Society in a cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland organized a public debate on the topic “Achievements and Failures of the Visegrad Group: Polish and Czech Perspective” on Monday 30th November 2015. Beata Jaczewska, Director of the Visegrad Fund , Michal Šimečka, Institute of International Relations, Tomáš Kafka, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Martin Ehl, Head of Foreign News, Hospodářské noviny, and Jakub Groszkowski, Center of Eastern Studies accepted the invitation to debate. The debate was moderated by Jan Macháček, Chairman of the board, Institute for Politics and society.
What is the achievement of the Visegrad Group? Michal Šimečka states that the success still exists. Jakub Groszkowski considers as the biggest achievement that the Visegrad Group (V4) is not just a political platform, but also economic and cultural one. According to Tomáš Kafka the most important is the unified position of member countries of V4. The failure on the other hand should be perceiving V4 as European Union´s younger brother that should exceed to a creation of EU-V4 division. Based on Groszkowski the goal is to be a serious partner in the EU. Beata Jaczewska represents one of the indubitable achievement – the Visegrad Fund, the only V4 institution.
However, some kind of splitting already exists and it has two sources. The first one is the still existing division between East and West in Europe. Tomáš Kafka states V4 has a potential to change its position by contribute to the EU-Russia debate and relations on the side of the European Union. The second one is rooted in the pessimism of V4 countries. It forms a big gap between our and German attitude.
It is most visible in the context of ongoing refugee crisis. While the EU is finding its identity, V4 has already clear answers on these questions. The challenge is to prove to Germany that our values are as important as the rest of EU countries. Martin Ehl claims it is easy to criticize V4´s negative attitude to refugees when nobody can´t introduce any European package the crisis´ solution. The Visegrad Group is more and more important for all of its member states as one of the main dimensions of their regional cooperation. V4 can be used also as a platform to meet before EU summits.