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Administory

Journal for the History of Public Administration / Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsgeschichte

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Ladislav Cabada and Šárka Waisová

Abstract

Even after achieving its goals, i.e. the entrance of member states into NATO and the EU, the Visegrad Group has managed to profile itself as a significant collective actor. Analyses to date clearly show that the group is able to function as a distinct and even key actor in various policies, including those within the EU; this statement is without doubt valid primarily for the region of the European neighborhood policy and the Eastern partnership, but also for enlargement policy and its clear targeting of the Western Balkans. We can also observe a highly proactive approach in issues linked to security, primarily in the energy sector and recently also cyber security. Nonetheless, all of these and many other significant V4 activities have been overshadowed of late by dispute between the group and a significant portion of members states on perspectives regarding the migration crisis including the tools to deal with it or preventive measures to prevent it from continuing or repeating. This stance on the issue, however, can be seen as proof of the relative power and success of the V4.

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Ladislav Cabada

Abstract

This study considers the plethora of contemporary institutional frameworks for Central European cooperation. While the Visegrad Group has been the most visible and stable format for Central European cooperation in recent history, it has been challenged by a number of alternative or complementary projects. These include the Austrian concept of Strategic/Regional Partnership, the Austrian-Czech-Slovak project Austerlitz-Formate/Nord‑Trilaterale, the Polish-Croatian Three Seas Initiative and the European Union’s macro‑regional Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). I focus on the development and prospects of each of these projects as well the rivalries among them and their intersections ot interference with one another. This survey then turns to the future Central European constellations suggested by the very different cooperation trajectories within the region. My thesis is that the region’s identity has been challenged by offers to merge with Europe’s West. Central European cooperation must find new challenges and themes if it is to survive.

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Christina Griessler

Abstract

This contribution explores the Visegrad Four’s (V4) foreign policy initiatives in the Western Balkans by considering each state’s interests and policies and the evolution of joint V4 objectives. My underlying hypothesis is that the foreign policy‑related behaviour of individual states is shaped by certain roles that they assume and by their national interests. This work uses role theory to explain the V4 states’ foreign policies both generally and in the specific case of the Western Balkans. The V4 have prioritised cooperation with this region, and I analyse the programmes of the last four V4 presidencies (Slovakia 2014-2015, the Czech Republic 2015-2016, Poland 2016-2017 and Hungary 2017-2018) to reveal key foreign policy objectives and explore why they were selected. At the same time, I examine the interests of each V4 country and the reasons for their joint attention to the Western Balkan region. My analysis shows that the V4 perceive themselves as supportive and constructive EU and NATO members and see their policies as reflective of European values. Moreover, they believe they should contribute to EU enlargement by sharing experiences of economic and political transformation with the Western Balkan states and serving as role models.

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Helena Bauerová

Abstract

The activities of the Visegrad Group countries in the EU have clearly demonstrated a range of themes that Member States are willing to address on a common platform. The chapter analyzes the extent to which the V4 countries are able to seek common interest, which is subsequently presented as a common position representing V4 interest at EU level. The analysis is based on the presidency of the Visegrad Group countries in the EU. The Presidency will be analyzed in view of the merging of the interests between the Visegrad Group and EU policies. In particular, energy policy, enlargement policy and neighborhood policy were chosen plus the partial policies influenced by the integration process at the time, such as migration policy or quota system issues.

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Jaroslav Ušiak

Abstract

The need for security and defence cooperation is a significant driver bringing together many nation‑state groupings. Today, the renewal and strengthening of this cooperation is a pressing concern for all such alliances around the world. This cooperation is rooted in the history that initially highlighted its potential, but it also encompasses contemporary relationships formed under the influence of enormous challenges and pressures. Finally it draws on the past successes and failures of the group in question. The aim of this study is to trace the beginnings of the security‑related cooperation of the Visegrad countries and locate the point of coordination of their respective security policies. My methodology is based on an analysis and synthesis of key source materials, making use of different types of analytical approaches. In order to identify the factors that connected the V4 states, I have applied a comparative method. My conclusion highlights important areas of security‑related cooperation ranging from the coordination of energy policies to military and defence matters and social protection including the fight against extremism, radicalism and hybrid threats.

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Jaroslav Ušiak

Abstract

State security policy is not created in a vacuum. In general, policy‑making is affected by external and internal variables and influences on the security environment as well as by responses to all these factors. Political decision‑making is another significant intervening variable. The aim of this study is to define the security environment of the Visegrad countries in both its narrow and broader senses. To this end, I consider common factors that have affected - and continue to influence - all four countries in order to reveal and evaluate the policy development processes in these states up to the present day. My methodology relies on case studies that trace the security policies of each of the Visegrad countries since the end of the bipolar standoff. The comparison in my conclusion highlights significant challenges now affecting the security policies of all these countries including defence budgets, the crisis in Ukraine, the position of EU member states and growing nationalism and extremism.

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Helena Bauerová

Abstract

The migration crisis opened up new themes on the basis of the Visegrad Group, which has become the subject of negotiations. Reaction at the EU level showed no/coherence clusters and no/ability to share common positions in negotiations in the EU institutions. There has been a tendency to represent the Central European region as a unit with common interests and needs. The text analyzes 1) the migration policy of the Visegrad Group as a regional organization within the EU and 2) the separate negotiations of the V4 member states at the time of the migration crisis. Our basic assumption for the analysis is the assertion that the Visegrad Group has made it easier for Member States to formulate common positions and objectives in migration policy at a time of migration crisis.

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Šárka Waisová

Abstract

Only a few studies have covered environmental problems in Central Europe and analysed environmental governance in Central European countries and no study has considered environmental cooperation in this region. The goal of the article is to map and analyse the environmental situation in Central Europe, paying attention to Central Europeans’ perceptions about the environment, key environmental problems and the policy tools these countries plan to use to face them. For this purpose, I concentrate mainly on the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, which represent the core of Central Europe. My findings suggest that the most active and successful environmental cooperation is taking place in an area that includes the V4 countries, their neighbours and other European countries. The EU offers the most important framework to support and develop this environmental cooperation. My assessment of the environmental situation in the V4 region shows that environmental cooperation among the V4 countries cannot be expected and would only have limited value. Because of their geopolitical situation and physical geography, Poland and Hungary in particular are linked to environmental issues that go beyond Central Europe and call for far wider environmental action. Dealing with environmental threats successfully and protecting the Central European environment efficiently cannot be tasks for the V4 group alone. Clearly we require a cooperative and cross‑border Europe‑wide approach.