Speeches

16. 2. 2016 12:03

Statement by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on the 25th anniversary of the Visegrad Group

The Visegrad Group was spawned not long after our countries extricated themselves from the clutches of the Iron Curtain. Against this backdrop, the Visegrad Declaration was a manifestation of our countries’ clear resolve to integrate themselves into Euro-Atlantic structures, to play an active role in the European integration project, and to cooperate in the development of a society grounded in democratic values.

When the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia acceded to the European Union, the divisions of Europe were healed for good. The trail we have blazed in the past 25 years, negotiating reforms, the establishment of democratic institutions and the advancement of civil society on the way, has been a great success story for our countries and for the idea of Europe. The Visegrad region exemplifies the success of European integration as a project putting universal human values and democratic ideals into action, consolidating stability and taking forward rapprochement within the European family of nations on the path to prosperity and social progress. We find it encouraging that we Visegrad countries are not merely onlookers in this process, but that we actively contribute to the formation and compounding of European cooperation.

European Union is facing a number of challenges. If we are to pull through, we must come up with joint European responses to them. We, the countries of the Visegrad Group, need a strong and agile European Union, and Europe needs a strong and active Visegrad Group.

With this in mind, my wish is for abundant success in the next quarter-century of Visegrad cooperation.

Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

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