Prague will welcome the Defence Ministers of the V4 countries

 23. 06. 2020      category: Events

The meeting of the Ministers of Defence of the Visegrad Four countries will take place in Prague on Wednesday, 24th June 2020. The Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar, who will conduct the meeting of the Ministers of Defence, will conduct the delegation of the Czech Republic as the host country. And, subsequently, the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic will attend the National Conference ‘Our security cannot be taken for granted’ on Thursday which will take place in The Ball Game Hall in the Prague Castle.

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Picture: The meeting of the Ministers of Defence of the Visegrad Four countries will take place in Prague on Wednesday, 24th June 2020 (illustration photo). | army.cz

The meeting of the V4 Ministers of Defence in Prague will formally close the Czech Presidency of the Visegrad Group (V4) in the field of defence. The subject of the meeting will present the evaluation of the state of task fulfilment in the priority areas of the Czech Presidency. The Czech priorities cover the strategic review of V4 defence cooperation, completion of joint acquisition project in the area of acquisition of military material, military recommendations for conceptual changes in the construction of the V4 Battlegroup for the EU (V4 EU BG) and further strengthening of the regional cooperation.

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Picture: The Army General Aleš Opata conducts a video Conference of the Chiefs of Staff of the V4 countries, 19th May 2020 | army.cz

At the same time, the contribution of the V4 to current NATO and EU initiatives will be discussed. At the end of the meeting, the V4 Defence Ministers will approve joint communication and sign a new Long-term Vision of the V4 countries regarding their cooperation in the area of defence. Thus, let’s hope that the so much proclaimed joint purchase of ammunition and other defence assets will take place so that these meetings and membership would be meaningful.

The following Thursday’s Conference this year will focus primarily on the security aspects of the coronavirus crisis and broader issues of the Czech Republic’s defence and membership in the North Atlantic Alliance. The Jagello 2000 Association, which is the main Czech actor of public diplomacy in the field of security policy and membership of the Czech Republic in the North Atlantic Alliance, is the organizer. The Association also participates in projects aimed at the European Union. The main goal of the association is to increase the awareness of the public and professional awareness about the security policy and transatlantic relations. 

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Picture: It has been also discussed that this year of the NATO Days will be completely without the participation of the general public. | CZD archive

It can be assumed that the Conference will also provide a vision of the form of how this year’s NATO Days will be organised.  It has been also discussed that this year will be completely without the participation of the general public, so the spectators, of whom there are regularly around 250,000 at the NATO Days, will be able to watch the demonstrations only on live broadcasts of the Czech Television.

Vysegrad Group

The Vysegrad Group (also called Vysegrad Four or V4) is an alliance of four countries of the middle Europe: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia.

The modern Vysegrad Three was established on 15th February 1991 (ten days before the lapse of Warsaw Pact) during a meeting of Hungarian premier József Antalla, president of Czech and Slovak Federative Republic Václav Havel and Polish president Lech Wałęsa in Vysegrad. At this meeting, the politicians signed a declaration of close cooperation of three Middle-European countries on their way to the European integration. After the breakdown of the communist regime, cooperation between the countries was important for their transition from the totalitarian system to a freedom, plural and democratic society. The Vysegrad countries together struggled for the breakdown of CMEA and Warsaw Pact.

After the division of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the indication of the alliance was changed to the Vysegrad Four (V4), because the membership was transitioned to the both succession states - Czech Republic and Slovakia. After 1992, cooperation within the Vysegrad Group stopped and was renewed in October 1998.

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Picture: Photo from V4 conference Training, Education and Exercise Synchronisation Conference 2019 | army.cz

In 1999, three of these countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland – joined NATO. After official admission of all four countries to the EU on 1st May 2004, foreign-political activities of this alliance increased even more, and the group focused on the promotion of cooperation and stability in a wider region of Middle Europe. Cooperation with Austria and Slovenia is in progress within so called Regional Partnership. The group also cooperates with other countries of Central and East Europe within so called the V4+ program.

 Author: Martin Šiška