Visegrád Group

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Image:Visegrad group countries.jpg
Political map of Visegrád Group

The Visegrád Group (Czech: Visegrádská skupina; Hungarian: Visegrádi Együttműködés; Polish: Grupa Wyszehradzka; Slovak: Vyšehradská skupina), also called the Visegrád Four or V4, is an alliance of four Central European states:

The Visegrád Group originated in a summit meeting of the heads of state or government of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland held in the Hungarian city of Visegrád on February 15, 1991, to establish co-operation between these three states in order to further the process of European integration. The Czech Republic and Slovakia became members after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. All four members of the Visegrád group entered the European Union on May 1, 2004. The only institution of the Visegrád co-operation is the International Visegrad Fund, established in 1999, with the seat in Bratislava. According to a decision of the prime ministers, the Fund has an annual budget of 3 million Euros from 2005 onwards.

The name of the Group is derived, and the place of meeting selected, from a meeting of the Bohemian, Polish and Hungarian rulers in Visegrád in 1335. Charles I of Hungary, Casimir III of Poland and the Bohemian king, John of Luxembourg, agreed to create new commercial routes to bypass the staple port Vienna and obtain easier access to other European markets. No "group" was created at that time, however. A second meeting took place in 1339, deciding on the new king of Poland.

Contents

[edit] Economy

After Slovenia, the Visegrád group are the wealthiest post-Communist countries in Europe. All of them have relatively developed free market economies and have enjoyed moderate economic growth.

[edit] Rotating presidency program

The presidency of the Visegrád group changes each year, in June.

1999-2000 Czech Presidency

2000-01 Polish Presidency

2001-02 Hungarian Presidency

2002-03 Slovak Presidency

2003-04 Czech Presidency

2004-05 Polish Presidency

2005-06 Hungarian Presidency (Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

2006-07 Slovak Presidency?

[edit] Initiatives

(1) The continually expanding Visegrád Scholarship Programme awards grants from the International Visegrád Fund for postgraduate studies at a V4 university. As of 2005, grants will also be awarded to 32 young Ukrainians for one year of postgraduate studies at a V4 university.

(2) 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 V4 WG on Energy 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 naval LNG terminals.
  • Recommendations in the field of interconnecting power transmission grids.

[edit] External links


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