Preserving unity inside the V4 and avoiding situations where they could be played off of one another by those outside of the group
The real priorities of a foreign policy of any state should reflect the overall dynamics of the international context (i.e. threats for national security or opportunities for the expansion of the state’s role vis-a-vis other players). This should also apply to alliances and inter-state groupings.
Today, the V4 faces the sort of challenges which lay at the very root of the group emergence. The European political and security system is again in a state of flux with the institutional framework is unfit for the present and future developments in and outside of Europe. The V4 is hence confronted with, or indeed put in between, three overlapping crises.
The first is the crisis of the west (i.e. European integration), followed by the end of the east as we know it (the Ukrainian Conflict and the end of the post-Soviet model of socio-economic development) and lastly the collapse of the south (i.e. war, terrorism and the refugee crisis).
At the same time, any room to manoeuvre in these external actions has never seemed so narrow as it is today. Strategic priority should be given, therefore, to the task of not being squeezed by the aforementioned arc of crisis to the extent in which the V4 member states would opt for individual ways to cope with the challenge.
Poland may be inclined to focus on the eastern dimension with Slovakia, and to respond to an ever closer eurozone integration with Hungary and the Czech Republic, while neglecting the migration and the Balkans issues of the south, an area of importance for the Hungarians, Czechs and Slovaks.
Preserving unity inside the V4 and avoiding situations where they could be played off of one another by those outside of the group should become the priority of all priorities. In these times of profound crises to the European order, nothing else is worth the time and energy of Central Europe.
This article is taken from the book “V4 – 25 YEARS. THE CONTINUING STORY OF THE VISEGRÁD GROUP 1991 – 2016“
Olaf Osica is a Polish sociologist and political scientist, chairman of the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) Board, director for risk assessment at Polityka Insight.