Remembering the summit of the kings of Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland in the castle of Visegrad in 1335, the Visegrad Group was created on 15 February 1991. Brought to life with the participation of three member states, the aim of the cooperation was to facilitate the accession of the members to the Euro-Atlantic structures: EC/EU, and NATO.

Due to the changes (regime changes, the dissolution of European and Eurasian federal states) happening in the first half of the 1990s, the international security environment has dramatically changed. In this new environment uncertainty was present for years that comprehensible political, societal, economic changes can be done without witnessing the loss of human lives. Besides these, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, two main aspects of military security emerged in the states of Central Europe: the unchangeability of borders, and the withdrawal of Soviet military troops stationed in former member states of the Warsaw Pact.

The security and stability of Central Europe was essential for the EC/EU—this aligned with the willingness of the Visegrad countries to join the organisation. The reasons behind the creation of the Visegrad Cooperation, amongst others, were the following:

  • the goal to dismantle the remnants of the Communist bloc from Central Europe;
  • the intent to tackle the historically rooted hostilities between Central European countries;
  • the belief that the set political and societal goals would be easier to reach by joint effors;
  • the similarities of beliefs these countries' political elites of the time had about the future of the region.

On 15 February 1991, the Visegrad Declaration was signed.

After the separation of Czechoslovakia to two states of the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993, the Visegrad Triangle has changed to the cooperation of four member states. The goals of the Visegrad Group did not change; the first significant step on this road happened in April 1999 when the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary joined NATO. For the completion of European integration and Slovakia's NATO membership, these countries waited until 2004. With these acts, the most important goal for the creation of the Visegrad Cooperation was fulfilled.

The successful integration process created a completely new situation, and raised higher expectations towards the V4 cooperation. Since 2000, when the International Visegrad Fund was founded, the intensity of cultural and societal contacts have been constantly growing, year by year. It has also been proven since 2004 that the Visegrad Cooperation has a place and role in the framework of the EU. Signing a new Visegrad Declaration in the Czech town Kromeříž on 12 May 2004, Prime Ministers of the four countries have once again laid new goals. According to these, V4 countries will "continue to focus on regional activities and initiatives aimed at strengthening the identity of the Central European region. In this context, their cooperation will be based on concrete projects and will maintain its flexible and open character." The document also outlines mechanisms of consultations in the framework of political, sectoral, expert level, and high-level meetings.

Making the Visegrad Group work

The coordination of the Visegrad Cooperation is in the hands of a rotating Presidency that every member state takes for a year. According to this concept, the position was first taken by the Czech Republic in the years 1999–2000, followed by Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. The importance of the Group is marked by the creation of the V4+ format, in which the political leaders of the four countries meet with their non-regional partners—usually many times in different formats during a presidential period. According to the established practice, presidential programmes are coordinated between V4 members. Proposing these programmes, and executing them is the responsibility of the rotating Presidency.

The cooperation of the Visegrad states has been expanded, and has become—in the good sense—natural. It is not defined mainly by large events, emphasis is put to practical aspects. Governmental cooperation is realised on the level of experts first, in an operative manner—in practice this means that ministries of the four countries are in close cooperation with each other, defining the practical tasks of the cooperation, assessing the possibilities within. Main responsible parties are the ministries responsible for foreign affairs, and—within them—V4 national coordinators and their deputies.