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The Visegrad Group--A Central European Constellation

The following essays were selected from "The Visegrad Group--A Central European Constellation" (ed. by Andrzej Jagodziński)--a book published by the International Visegrad Fund (Bratislava 2006) on the occassion of the 15th anniversary of the Visegrad Group. The whole book can be downloaded in .PDF format (see below).

Selected essays:

Ananicz, Andrzej: From the Anti-Communist Underground to NATO... 
"The first requirement was to dissolve the Warsaw Pact and Comecon."

Apte, Shirish: Visegrad - One Market. The Attraction for Foreign Investors 
"Increasingly, the Visegrad countries are competing against other growth economies... both as places to invest and as sources of funding."

Ash, Timothy Garton: Does Central Europe Exist?
"In the last few years we have begun to talk again about Central Europe, and in the present tense. This new discussion originated not in Berlin or Vienna but in Prague and Budapest."

Ash, Timothy Garton: The Puzzle of Central Europe
"[Central Europe] was revived by Czech, Hungarian and Polish writers such as Milan Kundera, György Konrad, and Czeslaw Milosz, as an intellectual and political alternative to the Soviet-dominated 'Eastern Europe'."

Barosso, José Manuel: Is Visegrad Regional Cooperation Useful for the EU?
"Even today, the Visegrad Group see themselves as completing and reinforcing the work of existing structures in Europe, both at the EU and transatlantic level."

Biliński, Wojciech: Central Europe's Mutual Saints
(St. Wojciech Biliński, St. Melchior Grodziecki, St. Jadwiga the Queen, St. Adalbert-Vojtěch-Wojciech)

Brzeziński, Zbygniew
: The West Adrift - Vision in Search of a Strategy
"The existence of a security vacuum in this sensitive region is counterproductive for all parties..."

Busek, Erhard: Unique Opportunities of Central Europe - Chance for Austria
"We have the tools, and the EU and the Visegrad Countries have a wealth of resources to offer each other - human, financial, knowledge-based and physical. The benefits are clear, as are the obligations."

Bútora, Martin: A Miracle Called Visegrad
"Visegrad was an impressively successful initiative despite its occasional lapses due to temporary departures by some of its members..."

Bútora, Martin: The Spirit of Visegrad Was Revived in Washington
"When... the term 'Visegrad' [was] translated, [it] meant 'the city on the hill', a phrase which occupies a unique and irreplacable spot in American mythology, the place where the 'American dream' of freedom, equality and prosperity was lived out..."

Čarnogurský, Ján
: Visegrad Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
"Central Europe has historically been a place where wars begin and end..."

Chmel, Rudolf: My Visegrad Question
"I am neither a sceptic regarding Visegrad... nor am I dogmatic about it, but I believe that after so much variable weather, teh skies above Central Europe... will eventually clear."

Chmel, Rudolf: A Visegrad without Culture?
"Following the fulfilment of some initial political, security and economic aims... culture is imperceptibly coming to the fore."

Demeš, Pavol: Visegrad Dreams
"Thanks also to Visegrad togetherness the foursome gained membership in the EU, and despite occasional speculation, did not quit their cooperation within the EU."

Dienstbier, Jiří: Visegrad - the First Phase
"It wasn't clear to anyone, not even the West, what the new Europe would look like..."

Dostatni, Tomasz: St. John Nepomucene, the Icon of Central Europe
"St. John Nepomucene stands next to rural footpaths and bridges, in squares and in fornt of churches in the Czech Republic, Moravia, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Bavaria, and Hungary."

Duleba, Alexander&Tomáš Strážay: New Chances, New Challenges
"The theory that Visegrad was 'an artificial creation of the West' was proven to be mistaken. As a label, the Visegrad Four... was regarded in Washington and Brussels as a guarantee of stability and the successful pursuit of political, economic and social transformation in Central Europe."

Engelmayer, Ákos: Fanfares and Frictions
"The idea of Visegrad Triangle was born within the former opposition, but putting it into action through state structures ran into difficulties..."

Gaudot, Edouard: Yes, the "Tribes of Europe" Can Live Together!
"This part of Europe seemed ripe for outburst. It had no long-standing democratic traditions, no rationalized borders, no truly positive historical experiences."

Gawlas, Slawomir: The 1335 Meeting of Kings in Visegrad
"Generally speaking, the meeting was evidence of a decisive change in our region in late medieval Europe."

Grabiński, Tomasz: The Summit in the Frosty Ruins: The Background...
"On the morning of the signing of the Visegrad Declaration, the thermometers showed -10°C, and it had snowed heavily during the previous days..."

Göncz, Arpád: Visegrad Three, Visegrad Four
"Shapeless and awaiting resolution. The Visegrad countries, over the centuries, have learned that together they are stronger, and that together their voice is better heard."

Gyárfášová, Oľga: Visegrad as Viewed by Citizens...
"Visegrad visibility - do people know what it's all about?"

Hárs, Gábor: Visegrad - A Personal Memoir of Cooperation
"...if it is true that power lies in unity... then it is also true that we can achieve more together."

Havel, Václav: The Visegrad Dream Still Relevant Today
"...the idea of close cooperation in Central Europe is still alive today."

Havel, Václav: Speech in the Polish Parliament (Sejm), January 1990
"Very soon I would like to invite various representatives of the state and the public from Poland and Hungary... to a meeting in the Bratislava castle, where we could spend a day quietly talking about these matters. Perhaps this would again make us somewhat wiser."

Hori, Takeaki: The Image of Visegrad Countries
"The vulnerability [of the region] gave way to a unique identity and facilitated a long period of inter-ethnic relations as well as mixed cultures."

Janas, Zbigniew: How I Started Visegrad in Mroziewicz's Kitchen
"I turned to Robert Mroziewicz to write a proposed mission statement that could be approved during the meeting in Bratislava, the place suggested by President Havel. The text [...] was composed on the kitchen table in Mroziewicz's flat."
Jasiński, Miroslaw: From the Underground to Diplomacy: The History...
"To understand what happened later it is worth stressing the broad contacts between 'alternative culture' circles in underground music..."

Jeszenszky, Géza
: The Origins and Enactment of the "Visegrad Idea"
"The term 'Visegrad contries' was probably first used in international diplomacy by US Secretary of State James Baker in September 1991."

Kiss-Szemán, Róbert: "Homo Visegradicus"
"Here is the Visegrad man, explosive but generous with his hospitality, cautious and careful but fresh and capable of winning, because he looks to the future in an ingenious and optimistic fashion. Who would not want to belong to this breed?"

Kováč, Michal: A True Feeling of Togetherness
"A feeling of loneliness was replaced by a true feeling of togetherness, of a meaningful cooperation with countries that had all inherited the same problems following the break-up of the Soviet bloc."

Koźmiński, Maciej: Diplomacy over Buckwheat and Dumplings
"Ideas flourished over those two years and during dozens of diplomatic and Council sessions, such as in Budapest over stewed beef with roast buckwheat or Russian dumplings, in Prague over beer, and in Warsaw over some other beverages."

Kwaśniewski, Aleksander: A History of Common Success
"The Visegrad countries should continue to play a significant role in the formation of the eastern policy of the EU towards such countries as Russia, Belarus, and particularly Ukraine."

Liehm, Antonín J.: When We Began
"In Central Europe... Visegrad was born again like a Phoenix from the ashes; it has more ways and means at its disposal and, thanks to a consensus that was lacking at the beginning, it has incomparably more opportunities."

Maziarski, Wojciech: The Brotherhood of Cherry Pits
"In the early summer of 1981, we shot at a statue of Soviet soldiers on St. Francis Square in teh heart of Budapest."

Mazowiecki, Tadeusz: The Mutual Return to Europe
"The years of 'international friendship' under the supervision of the USSR had enormously compromised the idea of cooperation and solidarity."

Michnik, Adam: We, the Traitors
"We were then considering the possibility of cooperation between the opposition circles in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary [...] Today I think with a certin nostalgic pleasure that this was the first meeting of the Visegrad community."
Milinkevich, Alyaksandr: Our Window into Europe
"It is certainly no accident that [...] we have been getting the most help and understanding from the countries of the Visegrad Four."

Pithart, Petr
: The Firm Rock of Visegrad
"We knew that the old, unhealed wounds be one day be reopened, and we wanted to be prepared for it."

Simonyi, András: Visegrad Cooperation: A 15-Year-Old Success Story
"The Visegrad Cooperation is an obvious 'coalition', although - as experience shows - it is not always obvious that the positions of the four countries converge for specific objectives."

Snopko, Ladislav: A European Crossroads Worn by Centuries of Use
"The countries of Central Europe are a European crossroads worn by centuries of use."

Vašáryová, Magda: The Optimal Format for Regional Cooperation
"Even though until 1989 we were a part of Eastern Bloc, we discovered with amazement [...] that we were in fact isolated, that we never knew one another, and that between us was always an enourmous space for misunderstandings and the spreading of prejudices."

Vondra, Alexander: Visegrad Cooperation: How Did It Start?
"...we wanted to avoid any revival of the hostile rivalry and jealousy that had destroyed our mutual relations in the inter-war period and left us easy prey for the powerful appetites if Berlin and Moscow."

Vrba, Tomáš: Breakfast with a Billionaire, or a Central European Dream
"Through a serving window in the canteen, we were each handed a battered tray with a cup of thin trade-union tea, a rubbery, day-old roll, and a miniature plastic container with an unidentifiable jam-like substance inside. Welcome to Kafka's Prague!"

Wałęsa, Lech: From Solidarność (Solidarity) to Cooperation and Integration
"Twenty five years ago it did not seem possible that we could learn to cooperate so quickly - and as free countries - without compulsion, on our own free will."

Žantovský, Michael: Visegrad between the Past and the Future
"Yes, Visegrad was also the seat of Count Dracula, one of the less admirable examples of Central European sophistication..."

"The Visegrad Group: A Central European Constellation",
ed. by Andrzej Jagodziński, International Visegrad Fund,
Bratislava 2006 (size: 9.8MB)
For more material see other articles.

© 2006–2023, International Visegrad Fund.
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