We live in a four-dimensional world. Three dimensions are about space. One is about time. The question of changing borders, the existence or non-existence of our countries on the map, have long since decided that nowhere more than in Central Europe, in our heads and, as it were, through our skin, we feel these vectors. We sense when history is accelerating. The following article is the work of four people who have contributed and continue to contribute over the years to the activities of the four Visegrad Group countries.
We belong to a generation that tried to do its best for the advent of democracy, civil liberties and a free market economy. The war in Ukraine has disrupted natural development processes throughout Europe. Therefore, we consider it our duty to speak out on the current situation and on the future. Although the policies pursued by our countries on behalf of our peoples have not been, are not and probably will not be in harmony in every respect, we have unanimously condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Our countries have provided humanitarian assistance to victims of wartime violence on a scale that has taken world public opinion by surprise.
Although we are frontline/frontline countries, the vast majority of our citizens have remained calm, and our societies and economies are coping with the new challenges and the not inconsiderable costs of war better than most countries in the European Union. The scale of the challenges we face is also not insignificant.
We are aware of our weaknesses. But perhaps the time has come to become aware of our own strength as well. And it is not only about the pace and level of organization of assistance to millions of war refugees from Ukraine. Which seems particularly telling, especially against the backdrop of 2015-2016 and the subsequent efforts of many larger and more affluent EU countries intensively seeking to redistribute the 2 million migrant wave and their living costs.
The growing brutality of the war in Ukraine has allowed us all to remember that Europe is not just some geopolitical space where individual states pursue their own particular interests. Europe is unity. And, at the same time, respect for the diversity of each state and nation. It is in the name of this conviction that our nations express the will to help and show solidarity with others. In the conviction that Christian values, natural rights, inherent human dignity, democracy, freedom of speech, create the optimal space for life and work: individual, nation and society. This is what sets us apart. In the East. And increasingly, also in our contemporary West. It is also the decisive factor for the success we have all achieved in recent years, in the spectacular pace of development of Central Europe. As for the scale of GDP growth - for two decades the fastest in the EU and one of the fastest in the world.
We want a strong Central Europe in a strong Europe that includes the whole territory of Ukraine, as well as other countries that have been applying for membership of the European Union for years. There are many indications that the European Union will come out of this war strongly weakened. This makes it all the more important that the "city in the highlands", Vyšehrad - Vyšehrad , a symbol of Central European cooperation, should take on the burden of responsibility for the future of the European Union. The principle: "as free with free, equal with equal", which guides the cooperation of the V-4, the Tri-Cities and other key formats of Central European cooperation - such as the Carpathian Europe - should also apply in the European Union. An organization that, in accordance with its name and the original intention of its founding fathers, must remain both a pan-European entity and a union.
Secondly, it is impossible to close one's eyes to the fact what role NATO aid has played and is playing, especially American aid to the strongest army in the region - the Ukrainian army. The conclusion? To preserve the freedom and sovereignty of our countries. There is no reasonable alternative to the North Atlantic Pact. NATO, like the EU itself, are not and could not be mere consumers of peace. They must remain their creator.
Third, it is high time that we learn realistically and effectively, also in view of the challenges and needs yet to come, to "monetize" a peaceful and responsible policy of the Central European states (not only the V-4) . A policy whose beneficiaries will also be those states whose leaders today perceive a more long-term interest of Europe as a whole. Consensus and closer cooperation are at hand.
The alternative is created by another world, by the reality of divide et impera. The latter is knocking or rather standing on our doorstep.
Premier Jan Figiel, former Deputy Speaker, European Commissioner, Slovakia
Speaker Marek Kuchcinski, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Sejm,Poland.
Minister Zsolt Németh, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, Hungary
Premier Alexandr Vondra, MEP, Czech Republic.
*Article appears simultaneously in mandiner.hu; konzervativnynoviny.cz; wpolityce.pl; postoj.sk.