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A neighbour discovered anew. The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary’s relations with Ukraine

OSW Report
2017-08-03

The Ukrainian-Russian war has prompted Bratislava, Prague and Budapest to take a new look at their eastern neighbourhood. Cooperation with Ukraine is gaining momentum, although relations with Russia are still the top priority for the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Diplomatic contacts with Kyiv have been rekindled, and the Visegrad Group has intensified its political support for Ukraine within the EU. The big success in the relationship between the V4 countries and Ukraine has been their booming energy cooperation. However, the pro-Russian gestures made by some leading politicians from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary remain a challenge for relations between Bratislava, Budapest, Prague and Kyiv. Co-operation between Budapest and Kyiv is further complicated by the dispute over the Hungarian minority in Ukraine.

Kyiv's top priority in foreign policy has traditionally been cooperation with wealthier countries, as well as those states seen as the key players in NATO and the EU (especially the US, Germany and France). Kyiv treats the Visegrad Group primarily as a useful forum for lobbying for Ukraine's interests in the EU and NATO. On the other hand, it is less interested in using the V4 as a platform for strengthening regional and bilateral cooperation with the countries of Central Europe.

 

Jakub Groszkowski, Tadeusz Iwański, Andrzej Sadecki

Cooperation: Tomasz Dąborowski

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A neighbour discovered anew