Miroslav Wlachovský is a Slovak diplomat who served as the minister of foreign and European affairs of Slovakia.
The Visegrád 4

Even When Split, the Visegrád Format Still Makes Sense

The V4 must remain a part of a solution and not a part of the problem for the EU, even if their leaders differ regarding their political priorities.

„For certain, if the Austrian state were not already in existence . . . we would have to act as soon as possible in the interest of Europe, and indeed of humanity itself, to create it.” František Palacký, a Czech historian and politician, in an open letter on May 11, 1848, and subsequently published in Národní noviny.

In Palacky’s view, the Austrian state of the Habsburg Monarchy was an indispensable political entity that, as a platform uniting a large number of small nations, could protect their safe development. What he wrote 176 years ago was a clear expression that a Central Europe of small and midsize nations should be organised and cooperate among themselves. All of this can take different forms. But the need expressed by him has existed ever since he expressed these thoughts.

„It didn’t take long for the first challenge from a populist leader who didn’t share European values.“

Miroslav Wlachovský

The turbulent 20th century visited two horrible dictatorships upon the Central European nations, fascism and communism. Western European states first created ties as part of the European Community, which later developed into the European Union, during the Cold War. But captive Central European nations behind the Iron Curtain were constrained by the Brezhnev Doctrine of limited sovereignty. Czechoslovakia, the country of my birth, learned the hard way in August 1968. The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 brought freedom. Yet, it also re-established some old challenges. Organising Central Europe was one among them. The solution worked out by Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland later became known as the Visegrád Cooperation.

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