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LEXICON Interparliamentary cooperation of the Visegrád Group countries

Visegrad Group site

  1. Regional cooperation of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia (Czechoslovakia until 31 December 1992) and Hungary was established on the initiative of President Vaclav Havel. The first summit of the presidents, prime ministers, ministers of foreign affairs and parliamentarians from those states was held on 9 April 1990 in Bratislava.
  2. On 15 February 1991, the "Declaration on cooperation between the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Hungary in striving for European integration" was adopted in Visegrád1. The signatories of the Declaration agreed to initiate a process of creating foundations and new forms of political, economic and cultural cooperation of those countries in the altered situation in Central Europe. The common objectives included i.a. full involvement in the European political and economic system, as well as the system of security and legislation. In May 2004, a new "Declaration of Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic on cooperation of the VisegrádGroup countries after their accession to the European Union" was signed2. The cooperation mechanisms defined in the guidelines attached to the Declaration included, following the recommendation of the first meeting of the Presidents of Parliaments in 2003, cooperation between the parliaments of the states forming the Group.
  3. The interparliamentary cooperation of the Visegrád Group took two forms: meetings of Presidents of parliaments and parliamentary committees.
    The meetings of Presidents of Parliaments have been held since 2003. At the first meeting of 13 January 2003, the need was noted for permanent addition of the parliamentary dimension to the cooperation and for reflecting this in a new Visegrád Declaration.
    On 18 April 2007 in Prague, the Presidents of parliaments signed an agreement institutionalising the Visegrád cooperation on parliamentary level. It was decided that regular meetings of Presidents of Parliaments would be held once a year, usually in autumn, in the state holding the presidency of the Group and meetings of parliamentary committees would be continued ad hoc.
    The meetings of parliamentary committees initially involved the chairpersons of foreign affairs committees, defence committees and European integration committees (since 2004 – European affairs). Later, the committees on economic affairs, social welfare, agriculture, administration and regional policy joined. In 2014, at the meeting held in Visegrad, it was decided to strengthen the V4 Group parliamentary dimension. The main objective of this new concept is to build stronger relations between parliaments of these countries and to provide for professional consultations on strategic issues for the specialized committees. In Memorandum of understanding on the parliamentary dimension of V4 cooperation adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committees, it was agreed that meetings in the framework of the "new parliamentary dimension" should be held once a year, one day prior to the Presidents' meeting, in the country that holds the rotating presidency of the Visegrád Group. The new framework of parliamentary cooperation would act together with the already existing meetings of Presidents and committees.
    • Meetings of the EU affairs committees would still be held every six months.
    • Prioritized areas of the new cooperation should be foreign and defence policy, as well as economic and regional development issues.
    • Delegations should consist of 10 parliamentarians from each country, at least two members from each committee.
    • In the first part of the conference, the delegates should meet in sections according to policy areas. The specialized meetings should be followed by a plenary session of all 40 delegates, to which the chairpersons of the European affairs committees should also be invited.
    The Presidents of V4 parliaments approved the agreement of foreign affairs committees at the meeting in Budapest in February 2014.
  4. At the end of the most meetings of Presidents final documents are adopted (joint statements, memoranda, final declarations), which are then transmitted to the COSAC Secretariat and possibly to EU institutions. Documents are adopted in English and published on the Visegrád Group and COSAC websites, and, together with translations into Polish – on the OIDE website.
    Parliamentary committees also adopt final documents:
    • European affairs committees – conclusions or statements, which are then transmitted to the COSAC Secretariat and possibly to European institutions,
    • other committees – conclusions, memoranda, joint statements, final declarations.
    All the documents from committee meetings are adopted in English (sometimes in national languages of participating parliaments). Most of the documents are published on the Visegrád Group website and, together with translations into Polish – on the OIDE website.
  5. Interparliamentary meetings of the Visegrád Group provide a forum for the exchange of experience in matters relating to EU membership. They are also used to exchange views on current issues, coordinate positions and take joint initiatives. During the last Polish Presidency of the Visegrád Group (July 2016 - June 2017) the meetings have dealt i.a. issues related to the future of the EU, the Union's eastern policy, migration, terrorism, EU relations with the USA, Russia, Turkey and the development of the Visegrád dimension of parliamentary cooperation3.
    In addition, the parliaments of the Visegrad Group countries support cooperation with parliaments of other countries, in line with the V4+ Programme (extended regional cooperation of an open nature, concerning individual projects that may involve different countries) and the European Neighbourhood Policy.

As of: 23.07.2018

 


 

1 Declaration on cooperation between the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Hungary in striving for European integration, 15.02.1991. See also Resolution of the Senate of the Republic of Poland dated 17 March 2011 commemorating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Visegrad Group.

2 Declaration of Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic on cooperation of the Visegrád Group countries after their accession to the European Union, 12.05.2001

3 See also Resolution of the Senate of the Republic of Poland of 14 June 2012 on the Assumption of the Republic of Poland of the Presidency of the Visegrad Group