Thank you very much for your agreement to give an interview to the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. The Association for International Affairs has been involved in various projects in the so-called Visegrád countries (V4), given that there is still such a notion as Visegrád countries. Which current projects in this area have you been implementing?
The Association for International Affairs has recently had a strong V4 aspect in its activities. Last year we organised a survey among V4 foreign policy experts, which enabled us to gather the data of more than four hundred people responding to the questionnaire. We tried to identify key policy issues that the people see within the V4 region and also to observe what they considered the current main foreign policy challenges in this regard. It turns out that issues - such as security, and energy security in particular, and migration - are on the top of the agenda. And now we intend to follow up on this project next year - with a specific focus on European policy, which we thought should be very interesting given the current standing of the V4 within the European Union as a sort of a pressure bloc.
Another project that we have been involved in this year is led by our Moldovan partners and is focusing on the communication of the accession process to the European Union and gathering some of the best practices by the V4 countries - prior to their accession to the European Union in relation to Moldovans, Georgians and Ukrainians signing the association agreements and joining the free trade areas. And this is another project with a strong V4 aspect, in which we think we can somehow gather the “know-how” that the V4 has and transfer it further for some use.
The most long-standing project of the Association for International Affairs has been the Prague Student Summit, which is launching its 22nd year and that's based on the models of various international organisations with the students from all around the country. But these are not only the participants from the Czech Republic: We have lately had students from other V4 countries. One of the sessions has always been a simulation of a V4 session. This year, we transformed that to an OSCE simulation, which will gather thirty international students, including those from the V4 countries, to go and discuss the problems that are relevant for the region. That’s roughly what we have been doing in this regard and we definitely intend to develop those projects further.