Members of the Visegrad group (V4) are: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia. Cooperation is based on the principle of periodical meetings and mutual contacts of the member states' representatives on all levels (heads of states, prime ministers, ministers, experts, etc.) Meeting of ministers of the environment is held once a year since 1993. V4 countries coordinate their positions to relevant legislative and strategic proposals of EU documents. The only organisation within the V4 platform is the International Visegrad Fund. The Fund was established in 1999 with the aim of supporting cooperation in culture, scientific exchange, research, education, exchange of students and development of cross-border cooperation and promotion of tourism. The Presidency of the Visegrad countries rotates after one year.
Presidency of the V4 for the period 2015 – 2018:
2014/2015 – Slovakia (July 2014 - June 2015)
2015/2016 – Czech Republic (July 2015 – June 2016)
2016/2017 – Poland (July 2016 – June 2017)
2017 – 2018 – Hungary (July 2017 – June 2018)
Czech Republic holds the V4 Presidency from July 2015 to June 2016. The Ministry of the Environment will continue in negotiating of the following topics: circular economy and changes in EU waste legislation, EU 2030 climate and energy policy framework, climate change international negotiations, new air quality legislation and EU biodiversity strategy targets.
The Ministry of the Environment will organize following events:
- 23rd meeting of the Environment Ministers of the V4+ countries (April 2016);
- Coordination meeting of the V4+ countries before session of the Council of the EU on the environment.
Expert meetings will be held on the following topics:
- meeting the targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy;
- Clear Air Policy Package;
- supporting cooperation in implementing the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), focusing on the suppression of illegal trade with such specimens in the Central European region;
- implementing the European Commission’s Smart Cities and Communities initiative (in collaboration with the Ministry of Regional Development):
- working level seminar for new EU Member States;
- conference and presentation on the approach to this initiative in the V4+ countries;
- exploring the opportunities for cooperation between Visegrad countries under EUROPARC CEE (talks in the V4 or V4+ format during the General Assembly of EUROPARC CEE, 16 – 18 March 2016).
The Czech Presidency of the V4 will be held at the same time as the presidency of the Carpathian Convention (2014 – 2017). Therefore, the Ministry of the Environment will focus its V4 activities to achieve the targets of the Carpathian Convention and its protocols, including the outcome documents of the 4th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Carpathian Convention.
In this context, the Ministry of the Environment plans to realize following activities to support the implementation of the framework Convention for the protection and sustainable development of the Carpathians (on the occasion of the Czech Presidency of the Carpathian Convention in 2014–2017):
- expert meeting of the V4+3 (Serbia, Romania, Ukraine) and Working Groups under the Carpathian Convention for landscape protection and care, with a focus on ecological connectivity and green infrastructure in mountainous areas;
- expert meeting of the V4+3 (Serbia, Romania, Ukraine) and the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA) with a focus on sustainable tourism in mountainous areas.