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The Bratislava Declaration of the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Visegrad Group

Bratislava, 15 February 2011

The Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic, acknowledging that

  • the establishment of the Visegrad Group represents an important event in the modern history of our nations and countries. It significantly contributed to overcome the division of Europe imposed after World War II and facilitating the integration of our countries into the European and Euro-Atlantic structures; the "Declaration on Cooperation between the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Hungary in Striving for European Integration", signed in Visegrád on 15 February 1991, 20 years ago, laid the foundations and put in place a long-term framework for the modern forms of political, economic and cultural cooperation. The Visegrad Group countries seized the historic opportunity afforded by the fall of Communism in 1989, developed a successful cooperation and based their mutual relations on friendship, good neighbourliness and shared values. The Visegrad cooperation continues to enhance democracy and civil society in Central Europe;
  • nowadays, the Visegrad Group is a recognised symbol of successful political and economic transformation and, in many areas, also a model for regional cooperation. The Visegrad Group (V4) countries have become constructive, responsible and respected partners in Europe in implementing EU key priorities and programmes and, through their input, have contributed and will continue to contribute towards the processes of political and economic integration in Europe, including EU and NATO enlargement, in order to promote the prosperity, security and stability of the continent;
  • the 10-year successful operation of the International Visegrad Fund (IVF) provides a tangible example of support to various civic, cultural, scientific, educational and innovative projects. Hence, the V4 countries are interested in assuring that the IVF continues to contribute even further towards fostering the civic dimension of V4 cooperation and deepening mutual trust and recognition beyond the V4 boundaries.

Confirming their determination to continue and further develop mutual cooperation aimed at contributing towards a strong, stable and democratic Europe and strengthening its position in the global arena in the interest of peace and sustainable development, they intend

  • to actively contribute to a strong Europe and promote and implement projects aimed at fostering cohesion and enhancing competitiveness of the V4 and EU in a global context, so as to overcome the impacts of the global financial and economic crisis. In negotiations on the next multiannual financial framework, of which well targeted cohesion policy and reformed Common Agricultural Policy must remain an integral part, the V4 countries will advocate respect for the principles which strengthen the internal convergence and external competitiveness of the EU. We consider the cohesion policy, which should be the cornerstone of the EU budget to consolidate 2004 and 2007 EU enlargements, to be one of the main factors helping to narrow the existing regional gaps/disparities in individual Member States. Together with the support of culture, education, research and development, the cohesion policy puts the EU as a whole in a stronger competitive position on the global scene;
  • to place strong emphasis on the need to foster European energy security by extending and deepening the internal energy market and by enhanced V4 regional cooperation within the EU framework, to diversify the routes, sources and suppliers of energy carriers and to develop the energy infrastructure, especially by the implementation of the North-South gas interconnections and modernisation of the oil and electricity networks;
  • to promote swift development of the V4 countries' transport infrastructure (road, rail and river) strengthening thus their growth potential, the accessibility for their citizens and cross-border cooperation;
  • to develop the principles expressed in the values of the four freedoms which opened up new opportunities for jobs, economic cooperation, trade, investment and contacts among citizens. The V4 countries welcome the full liberalisation of access to labour markets across the EU to be completed in 2011 and will continue to support social and educational inclusion, with special regard to the integration of the Roma communities, based on mutual responsibility;
  • to enhance the visibility of the Visegrad Group in third countries both through deeper V4 cooperation within the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU and through activities beyond the Union level. The V4 countries will be more determined in translating their unique transitional experience and political perspective into the EU's external policies;
  • to facilitate the process of enlarging the area of stability and democracy in the EU neighbourhood and actively contribute towards the implementation of European and Euro-Atlantic ambitions of the countries of Eastern Partnership and continue to support the Western Balkans countries in their EU and NATO integration. The added value of the unique know-how of the V4 and pooled resources of IVF may effectively assist partner neighbourhood countries to turn their integration and democratisation endeavours into success;
  • to support and advocate the fostering of Euro-Atlantic links, including development of close strategic complementarities between NATO and the European Union, which is considered essential for the long-term security of our countries and the entire Euro-Atlantic area. The current international environment poses increasingly complex challenges of a universal nature which go far beyond the means of individual countries. The Visegrad Group will actively contribute towards international efforts in combating terrorism, human and drug trafficking, illegal migration, extremism and other security threats and challenges, including those in the area of cybersecurity, that jeopardise our values and the freedoms of our citizens; to pay significant attention to the endeavours by the EU and its Member States, as well as by the international community, to tackle challenges arising from climate change, support the fight against poverty, and facilitate efficient provision of development assistance.

The Visegrad Group has become a well established brand and a respected partner. It will remain open to cooperation based on common values with countries and other regional groupings through the V4+ format. We are convinced that the Visegrad Group, guided by the principles of cooperation and solidarity enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, will continue to fulfil its important regional mission.

Petr Nečas
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

Viktor Orbán
Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary

Donald Tusk
Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland

Iveta Radičová
Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic

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