Bratislava, 19–20 March 2015
The Speakers of Parliaments of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic, present in Bratislava upon the invitation of Peter Pellegrini, the Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic on the occasion of the Slovak presidency of the Visegrad Group,
in closing their joint meeting on March 20, 2015 agreed on the following conclusions:
We appreciate the importance and the hitherto progress of the Visegrad cooperation, which is entering its 25th year of existence and which has become an established trademark and an expression of the historic need for regional cooperation in the Central European region.
We recognise the particular importance of a parliamentary dimension in the Visegrad cooperation that is based on the legitimacy of national legislative assemblies representing the electorate. We should reflect this importance in the regional dialogue as well as in discussions at other levels of society.
We perceive the potential of inter-parliamentary cooperation and parliamentary diplomacy, not only within the Visegrad region but also at multilateral level, mainly in the EU. In this regard, and also in the spirit of the current Slovak presidency of the V4 we express our determination and commitment to promote active participation of national parliaments in EU policy making, as well as inter-parliamentary dialogue on European issues.
We recall the importance of national parliaments not only for the shaping of the internal political and social discourse but also for formulating positions on foreign policy issues. Geopolitical development in the close and the more distant neighbourhood and new international and global challenges inspire considerations about enhancing the V4+ cooperation platform to include a parliamentary dimension. Sharing and exchanging know-how and practical experience in identified areas seem promising in this regard.
In relation to the above and in the effort to contribute to the external relations of the EU we express our readiness to intensify interaction with parliaments in the countries of the Western Balkans and of the Eastern Partnership, as regards joint projects focused on improving the efficiency of legislative assemblies as well as assistance in the process of reforms or stabilisation and association.
We are convinced that representative democracy, mainly in the form of parliamentary assemblies, should remain a priority setting for the governance of public affairs. However, we welcome constructive considerations on new forms and means of interaction between voters and their elected representatives, which should be based mainly on participation, communication, responsibility and transparency on either side of the dialogue.
We focus our attention on opportunities offered to our national economies in the digital age that place higher demands on the production, readiness and qualifications of the workforce, transparency and effective control mechanisms of economic governance based on modern technologies (mainly information and communication technologies), stable and dynamic infrastructure as well as diversification of input resources.
We take note of the contents and outcomes of the meetings of foreign affairs committees and economic affairs committees of the V4 parliaments, attached to this declaration, which took place in Bratislava on 25 February 2015.
We express our determination to be inspired in future cooperation by the ideas of this declaration, trusting that it will serve as a foundation for the next meeting of the presidents of national parliaments of the V4 countries to be held under the presidency of the Czech Republic in the Visegrad Group between 1 July 2015 and 31 June 2016.
We agree to inform of this declaration our respective parliaments along with the respective parliamentary committees, dealing with matters corresponding in content and policy with the above stipulations. The respective governments will also be informed in order to maintain consistency of actions.
We express our support to the incoming Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of the 2016 and we strongly believe that it will bring the central European views, perspectives and issues dear to our citizens into the European attention. In this respect we will be open to the exchange of best practices in view of the preparations of the parliamentary dimension of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU.
This document has been drafted in the English language in six original copies.
Done in Bratislava on 20 March 2015
Speaker, Chamber of the Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Deputy Speaker, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Speaker Deputy Speaker
Deputy Speaker, National Assembly of Hungary
Vice-Marshal, Sejm of the Republic of Poland
Vice-Marshal, Senate of the Republic of Poland
Speaker, National Council of the Slovak Republic