The Visegrad Group (V4) is an informal regional format of cooperation between the four Central European countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, which are not only linked by neighbourhood and similar geopolitical situation but above all by common history, traditions, culture, and values.
The idea behind the Group was to intensify cooperation in building democratic state structures and free market economies and, in the long term, to participate in the process of European integration. The date of its creation is 15 February 1991, when the Presidents of Poland and Czechoslovakia, Lech Wałęsa and Václav Havel, and Prime Minister of Hungary József Antall signed a joint declaration on the objectives and conditions of cooperation in the Hungarian town of Visegrad.
Since 2004, all V4 countries have been members of the European Union, and the Visegrad Group provides a forum for exchanging experiences and working out common positions on issues relevant to the future of the region and the EU.
In addition to European issues, V4 cooperation focuses primarily on matters concerning Central Europe, exchange of information, and cooperation in culture, science, education and youth exchanges. Priority areas include expanding transport infrastructure and strengthening energy security in the region. There is also a cooperation mechanism with third countries in the “V4+” format.
A number of diverse actors are involved in the Visegrad Group's work: presidents, prime ministers, ministers, parliaments, government bodies, NGOs, research centres, universities, and cultural institutions.
The V4's only fully institutionalised form of cooperation is the International Visegrad Fund, based in Bratislava
The annual Presidency of the Group is held on a rotating basis, while its programme is adopted by the prime ministers of the Visegrad countries. From 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, the Group's presidency will be held by Slovakia.
More information about the Visegrad Group is available on its official website.