Central European Perspectives - Integration Achievements and Challenges of the V4 States after Ten Years in the EU

May 2014 marked the ten-year anniversary of the EU accession of the Central European Visegrad countries (V4).  Not only have Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary undergone enormous changes in the years since 2004, but the European Union of today is quite different from what it was in 2004.

This significant celebration furnishes an opportunity to examine future challenges against the backdrop of the developments in the Visegrad states.  Even as the central goal of Visegrad cooperation was attained with EU accession in 2004, the importance of the continued resolution of common positions and orientations within the framework of the V4 has not diminished in the enlarged European Union. Mid-sized and economically smaller "new" EU countries are often seen in Brussels, Paris, and Berlin as second-tier members.  Even a decade after its eastern expansion, the EU is still dominated by its larger, older member states.  One gets the impression that the "old EU15" hasn't really gotten to know its "new, eastern side."

The project "European Perspectives" seeks to build a bridge from Visegrad to Berlin and Brussels, looking back over the ten years since the EU's eastern expansion to analyze perspectives on European integration from both shores and bring them into conversation with one another.

Young fellows from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary will produce four separate policy analyses in which the authors not only give an account of the past decade but also examine questions about the future:  Has EU accession fulfilled each country's expectations?  What is the expected role of each country in the future European Union?  What importance do the "Visegrad neighbors" play in that vision?  What expectations do they have for Europe?  Where do the European perspectives from Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest overlap, and where do they differ?  Who are the Visegrád Countries’ key European partners on the political fields covered by the research? These four authors will be connected to appropriate partner institutions (universities or research institutes) in each capital.

These eastern perspectives will be joined with western views in the second phase of the project.  In Berlin, a young German fellow at the DGAP will prepare an analysis of the perception of the Visegrad states in the European Union and in the "old EU15."  How do Europeans and Germans in particular feel today about the EU's eastern enlargement?  What are the dominant images of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary? The research will focus in all cases on the following four fields: 1.) Economic Governance and EMU; 2.) Formal and informal integration in the European institutions; 3.) Aims and goals of national European politics and the understanding of their role; 4.) Geopolitical identity – Neighbourhood Policy.   

The results of the project will be presented at common public events at each of the partner institutions in Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest, as well as in Berlin (DGAP) and in Brussels.  All five analyses will be available in English in printed and digital form, distributed in each of the countries and beyond. 

The final goal of this project's analyses and public events is to forge a common discussion on the achievements of European expansion processes and to advance future development of the European Union. 

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