Aspen Institute Prague, together with International Visegrad Fund, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held its first closed-door seminar dedicated to the prospects of cooperation between Visegrad countries and Germany. The event took place on November 13 – 14, 2012 in the Czernin Palace in Prague.
Delegations of all four Visegrad states and Germany met during a two-day Policy Makers Seminar in order to discuss the topics of integration (cohesion policy), technical cooperation (energy infrastructure) and political (the countries’ Foreign policy Eastern dimensions). The event was opened by Jiří Schneider, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and State Secretary for European Affairs from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and followed by introductory remarks by Radek Špicar, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Prague, Werner Böhler, the Head of the KAS Office in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Martin Tlapa, the Deputy Secretary of State for European Affairs from the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic.
AIP Director Radek Špicar began by summarizing the main motivation for organizing the event: “For all V4 countries, Germany is one of the most important EU partners, however, this relationship has never evolved into an active cooperation between the Group and its western neighbor. This is due to a number of divergent interests but as all five countries face similar challenges, the question of a closer relationship appeal critical. This is why we chose to create a discussion forum, where officials and experts from the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia could discuss national positions and potential cooperation modalities between the V4 and Germany”. He continued by thanking the co-organizers for their support during its preparation, adding at the end of the seminar, “We were pleased to hear that our foreign guests found this initiative useful and used the opportunity for opening a debate on key issues where consensus was not easy to reach”.
Given the framework for its Policy Programs, the Aspen Institute Prague provides an informal discussion venue for experienced policy makers, politicians and thinkers. Visitors to the website will find a summary report from this event.