KUWAIT: Polish Ambassador to Kuwait Pawel Lechowicz last week hosted a meeting of ambassadors of the V4 (Visegrad Group) at the Polish Embassy in Kuwait to mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of the consortium. On February 15, 1991, the Presidents of Czechoslovakia and Poland and the Hungarian Prime Minister signed the Visegrad Declaration, which marked the start of V4 cooperation.
The Visegrad Group Jubilee took place during the Polish Presidency, which began on July 1, 2020. A short and impressive video presentation from each of the four countries was made at the chosen gathering at the Polish Chancellery and guests were able to view the great strides made by V4 nations over the past 30 years.
The Visegrad Group was formed as an alliance of three countries originally and then four countries with the aim of furthering their European integration as well as advancing their military, economic and energy cooperation with each other. The Visegrad Group reflects the efforts of the four Central European countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – to work together in a number of areas of common interest within pan-European integration.
Addressing the rally, Ambassador Pawel said the annual presidency coincides with an unprecedented global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic has put a strain on the functioning of societies,” he said.
“The motto of V4 cooperation during the Polish Presidency was ‘Back on track’, and our goal of building the image of the Central European region and V4 as a flexible and constructive partner remains an ongoing task. Dialogue is essential in these difficult times. Gestures of solidarity and goodwill also count. The next country to take the presidency of the V4 group is Hungary. “
Ambassador Pawel further clarified that the V4 countries are exchanging information and developing priority programs in order to better cooperate in a growing number of areas. An important rule of thumb is that within the EU the V4s carry more weight as an alliance than they would as individual countries.
V4 and GCC comparison
Despite the differences in economic potential and the geographical differences of the countries, there are some similarities in the cooperation between the V4 countries and the GCC states:
– Shared cultural and historical contexts: Influence of Western Christianity (Roman Catholicism), experience of World War II and post-war communist regimes in group V4. The Arab-Islamic roots of the GCC states, as well as the balance of influence between the colonial powers (Ottoman Empire, United Kingdom).
– Level of social and economic development: GCC economies are based on oil extraction and export. The V4 countries have moved from socialist methods of centralized economies to the ideas of a free market and entrepreneurial freedom.
– Objectives: the CCG seeks a new development path other than that based on oil for its economies. The V4 group states, as a major manufacturer of goods in Europe (heavy industry, automobile, agriculture), seeks progression to high income and high productivity categories.
An exhibition was also presented presenting the history of the V4 nations.