International Visegrad Fund celebrates 20 years advancing ideas for regional cooperation
This week marks the International Visegrad Fund‘s 20th anniversary. The Fund was established by the governments of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries, Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, as an international donor organization in June 2000. It has been working since to promote regional cooperation in Central Europe as well as between the V4 and other countries, especially in the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership regions.
As the only institution of the Visegrad cooperation, it was handed the mission to facilitate the development of closer cooperation among citizens in the region through giving grant support to civic initiatives and encouraging mobility among cultural, educational and scientific institutions by awarding study and artists-in-residence scholarships.
Declaration of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Visegrad Fund (IVF)
This year, 2020, the Visegrad Group (V4) marks 20th anniversary of the foundation of the International Visegrad Fund with its seat in Bratislava, the most significant common organisation within the V4 framework. In hindsight, the successful operation of the International Visegrad Fund has proved both the viability of the Visegrad Group as a platform for sharing civic, cultural, scientific, educational and innovative concepts, and the benefit of the V4 as a space of mutual trust where thoughts, opinions and uncharted ideas can be exchanged and multiplicated in a truly frank and open “European” manner.
The International Visegrad Fund has supported close to 6.000 grant projects and nearly 4.500 semesters of individual scholarships in total worth exceeding 96 million euros, owing to the significant contributions of the four founding states.
The common aim of these projects has always been to bring together people inside the V4 region but also within Europe as a common continent and thus make its contribution to the process of the European integration in general.
To meet these cohesive goals, the International Visegrad Fund adopted grant programmes dedicated to the promotion of regional cooperation and solidarity within the V4 as well towards other countries, especially in the neighbouring Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership regions.
Efficient, comprehensible and non-bureaucratic functioning of the International Visegrad Fund and its secretariat made it possible that the Fund has over the years become a well-established entity and an internationally respected partner. In this context, we pay tribute to all executive directors and members of its secretariat that during the last 20 years contributed to the Fund’s current high profile. The founders are proud of this reputation and are keen on to build it further on.
Hence, the V4 countries reiterate their commitment to support the mission of the International Visegrad Fund towards fostering the civic dimension of the V4 cooperation within the broader European framework and deepening mutual trust and understanding in the V4 region as an integral and integrating part of the European Union, and a serious, proactive and successful partner beyond its boundaries.