In the first half of 2016, eight think-tanks from the Visegrad Group that have been cooperating in the Think Visegrad platform, agreed on the idea proposed by the EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, to create a common representation office in Brussels. The main motivation for it is the need to encourage debate on issues of common interest to the EU and the V4 and explain the positions of the V4 to a wide audience. Think Visegrad in Brussels would like to project an image of constructive partners, to explain the dynamics of the debates within our regions and to highlight our active contributions to EU policy-making.
The project brings together all the members of the Think Visegrad network, namely:
Research Center of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association (RC SFPA), Bratislava (main coordinator)
GLOBSEC Policy Institute, Bratislava
Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Warsaw
Institute of East-Central Europe (TIESW), Lublin
Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT), Budapest
Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy (CEID), Budapest
EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Prague
Institute of International Relations (IIR), Prague
The pilot project was implemented by the Brussels office of EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, one of the founding members of the Think Visegrad platform. It ran from June to December 2016 and the International Visegrad Fund financed it.
Events and external activities
– TVB organized two public debates in Brussels. The first conference was entitled ‘The Visegrad Contribution to the EU Digital Single Market’ and took place on 30.11.2016. It was organized in close cooperation with the Polish Presidency of the Visegrad Group and hosted by the Permanent Representation of Poland to the EU. The second conference took place on 9. 12. 2016 and was called ‘Security in Europe from a Visegraad viewpoint: strengthening fundamentals, but rethinking perspectives?’ The event in a round-table format was co-organized with the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and the European Policy Institutes Network and hosted at CEPS premises.
– The roundtable with the title ‘Visegrad about the Future of the EU’ took place on 24. 10. 2016 and brought together the four Ambassadors to the European Union of the Visegrad Countries and twelve amongst the most prominent think-tanks in Brussels. It was hosted by the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the EU.
– The TVB Newsletter was one of the key communication tools aimed at a wide audience, with the objective to raise awareness about the Think Visegrad platform in mainly Brussels-based stakeholders. The Newsletter introduced the project and its members, including their presentation in each issue. Each issue summarized the gist of the TVB activities in the past and upcoming period, reporting on events and research fellowships. Four issues of the newsletter were sent over the period of the project:
- Newsletter 1/2016 (07. 07. 2016)
- Newsletter 2/2016 (12. 09. 2016)
- Newsletter 3/2016 (24. 10. 2016)
- Newsletter 4/2016 (20. 12. 2016)
– TVB commissioned a consultancy to carry out the legal and financial assessment, taking into account various scenarios of the TVB potential presence in Brussels. TVB submitted the feasibility study to the International Visegrad Fund at the end of September 2016
– Providing space and support for four experts (one from each V4 country) from V4 think tanks (not only Think Visegrad members) that would like to undertake short-term research in Brussels
- Tomasz Stępniewski (12 September 2016 until 16 September 2016), The Society of the Institute of East-Central Europe (TIESW). Paper title: The European Union and Eastern Partnership: Crises and Strategic Assessment
- Vladimir Bilcik (17 October 2016 until 21 October 2016), Research Centre of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association (RC SFPA). Paper title: The EU Council Presidency after the British referendum
- Zsuzsanna Csornai (28 November 2016 until 2 December 2016), Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT). Paper title: The Changing Balance of Power in the EU after the British Referendum – V4 Capacities and Opportunities
- Michal Koran (16 January until 20 January), Institute of International Relations (IIR). Paper title: Central Europe: The Death of Dreams?
– Providing monitoring to V4 think tanks on issues of relevance to them.
The four policy areas were agreed upon jointly with the partner institutions: security and foreign policy, economic issues, energy issues and digital agenda. (LINKS)
Throughout the pilot project, the following issues were delivered:
- First + Second issue: from 12 to 30 September 2016
- Third issue: from 1 to 14 October 2016
- Fourth issue: from 15 to 28 October 2016
- Fifth issue: from 29 October to 11 November 2016
- Sixth issue: from 12 to 25 November 2016
- Seventh issue: from 26 November to 9 December 2016
- Eight issue: from 10 to 21 December 2016
Follow-up to the pilot project is currently prepared and is expected to be implemented from March 2017.