German Foreign Policy toward the Visegrad Countries

Patterns of Integration in Central Europe

29/09/2014 | by Andrea Gawrich, Maxim Stepanov

DGAPanalyse 17 (September 2014), 20 pp.

Category: Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements, Central and Eastern European countries

Relations between Germany and the Visegrad Four (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) have undergone numerous changes since the fall of the Iron Curtain. For each country in the V4, the relationship with Germany has developed along different paths. Today, differences in outlook seem to be present on issues ranging from EU energy security to NATO’s role in European security (on the eastern borders in particular). The recent Ukraine crisis is another instance of diverging attitudes.

© M. Śmiarowski/Chancellery of the Prime Minister

Meeting of the Visegrad Group, June 2014, Budapest.

This twofold analysis describes, firstly, Germany’s cooperation with the V4 as a whole, particularly its decisive role in shaping the countries’ EU and NATO accession processes. Secondly, it investigates the bilateral agreements between Germany and the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, respectively, and examines these as instruments of German foreign policy. Our conclusion is that, because of unequal interests and differences of opinions, the V4 as a whole is less important to Germany than the sum of its individual bilateral relationships.

 
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