The Visegrád Group was created in 1991 when Polish, Czechoslovakian and Hungarian leaders met in the Hungarian town of Visegrád to promote cooperation between the three States following the Warsaw Pact. In 1993, Slovakia separated from the Czech Republic and the Group became the “V4”. The initial aims were to promote these States as candidates for membership of NATO and the European Union. They were accepted in 1999 and 2004, respectively. Since then, the V4 has continued essentially as an instrument for consultation and definition of shared position between the countries concerned in advance of European deadlines.
The functioning of the Visegrad Group
With 65 million inhabitants, the Visegrad Group has a similar weight to that of France within the European Union, which gives it 12.46% of the votes within the Council of the European Union.
The V4 works on an informal intergovernmental model and takes decisions by consensus. It does not have any permanent structures. The group’s work is centred around a presidency which rotates on an annual basis and regular meetings at various levels : Heads of State, Prime Ministers, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of State for European Affairs, technical ministries, etc. The meeting agenda is set by the presidency and is generally governed by the key moments of the European calendar (European Council meetings, informal summits, etc.). The high-level meetings are most often accompanied by the adoption of shared positions.
The V4 occasionally extends its work to other States, both EU and non-EU members, in formats known as “V4+”, depending on the topics on the agenda and/or the European and international priorities of the Presidency.
Provisional programme of presidencies :
- 1 July 2016-30 June 2017 : Poland
- 1 July 2017-30 June 2018 : Hungary
- 1 July 2018-30 June 2019 : Slovakia
- 1 July 2019-30 June 2020 : Czech Republic
France was involved in the work of the Visegrad Group during the most recent Slovak and Czech presidencies (2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively).
- 19 June 2015 : Participation of French President François Hollande in the Visegrad Group Summit in Bratislava.
- 27 June 2016 : meeting between the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Marc Ayrault, and German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at the V4 Foreign Minister’s meeting on the United Kingdom’s referendum on leaving the European Union.
Updated : 22 May 2017