Titelbild Osteuropa The Europe beyond Europe/2007

In Digest 2007

Fusion or Fission?
Concepts of Central Europe and regional integration

Jiří Vykoukal

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(Digest 2007, pp. 183–204)

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The debate about Central Europe is a typical modern phenomenon. Whoever enters into it attempts to form, out of a plethora of opinions, a unified, normative designation of what Central Europe is.[i] The term has nonetheless been used differently in every era and region. To this extent, it more represents a postmodern chamaeleon.[ii] In the Central European idea of Central Europe, the space acquires a cohesive element. However this has scarcely been reflected in an ability to find a common language. Other commentators take the view that the term Central Europe is a form of European orientalism, a construct which serves, both figuratively and literally, to dispose of this “exotic” patch of land.[iii]

Significant models for Central Europe have always been produced in times of upheaval. Such visions were to reflect the changed situation and legitimise new claims. The implementation of such a concept of Central Europe could serve to facilitate domination of parts of, or the entire region.[iv]

Notwithstanding the multiplicity and changeability of the individual positions, it is possible to detect several historical structural determinants which have impinged upon the Central Europe debate. These include the pivotal developments of European history and also the new territorial layout of the European continent linked to them. In this regard, the term Central Europe is a modification of older concepts of national and territorial identity used for those Central European nations for whom earlier concepts of identification and boundary – such as belonging to the Slavs – had become outdated. However, the extent of modification was limited: The new plans for Central Europe could not always extricate themselves from old models. Nevertheless it was always clear from the new plans – albeit somewhat implicitly – whether the changes were actually encompassed or whether they merely projected individual notions onto the term Central Europe.

The term Central Europe is closely associated with the rise of nationalism and the creation of the so-called succession states of the disintegrated multinational empires. Nationalism, which is described by Ernest Gellner as bringing together, or even fusing, the ethnic and the political principle, focuses on a national quirk: Every nation [“Volk”] should be given its own land. In such a polyethnic setting as the Habsburg Empire where there was an overlap of numerous, often diverse, institutional areas – such as the fields of legal norms, administrative regulations, educational system regulations – and informal areas – languages, traditions and customs – this idea sparked an enormous explosive force. Furthermore each of these “national” territories was affected by different modernisation plans, and the different modernisation phases produced varying results which have entered the respective sociocultural makeup of the different nations and ethnic groups. Moreover, the individual regions had a specific historical legal status within the empire.

As the Habsburg Empire, which had long represented an appropriate arena for handling this diversity, began to collapse under the rush of nationalist fervour because these national aspirations grew faster than the empire could react to them, the national programmes had to be wrapped in a new, regional “package”. The plans for these wrappings took the precaution of defining minimum and maximum requirements for the amount of “living space” which each nation would require. They included “maps” for the period following the fall of the Empire.

Central European plans for Central Europe pre-1989

Hungary – Central Europe as space for national integration

Prior to the First World War, an attempt was made in Hungary at a Magyar-style squaring of the Hungarian circle. Classical political liberalism needed to find solutions to the upheaval caused by rampant industrialisation, at the same time the steady decline in the Magyar (ethnic Hungarian) proportion of the total population in the Hungarian territory had to be slowed down by an even more powerful, enforced “magyarisation” of the Romanic and Slavic parts of the population. Every Hungarian political concept – in particular, the various plans for integration of the Danube region – had to provide a solution to this problem.

However, no satisfactory solution had been found by the outbreak of the First World War. The far-reaching reform proposals made in 1918 by the democratic Hungarian government’s Minister for National Minorities Oszkár Jászi failed to halt the disintegration of the old Kingdom of Hungary. The Hungarian Central Europe of the interwar years transferred old regional political instruments into a new geopolitical situation. Here, the term Central Europe (“Mitteleuropa”) was the designation for the area whose sections once belonged to historical Hungary and which Hungary wished to reclaim by a revision of the Treaty of Trianon.

Under the communist regime, revisionism was seen as “abolished”. Once the repression which followed the 1956 uprising had relaxed, however, Hungary began even in the 1960s to slowly extricate itself from Soviet power by gradually involving itself in international forums outside the Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON). From the late 1970s, Hungary was a member of the Alpine-Adriatic Group, a regional forum which transcended the East-West conflict: Its members included Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Yugoslavia – a NATO member, a member of the Warsaw Pact, a neutral state, and a member of the Non-Aligned Movement. Since the 1990s Hungary has tried, with its policy towards Hungarian minorities abroad, to unite the reverberations – and targeted revival – of the Trianon-complex with a pro-western and pro-European policy: plans for Central Europe serving in turn primarily to solve specific Hungarian problems.

Poland – Europe as bastion against Germany and Russia

The Polish Central Europe debate is shaped by three different regional positions which are the legacy of the three Polish partitions. The main problem which plans for Central Europe reflect is how to treat the different influences which the Poles have experienced under the respective partition powers with their differing historical development. In essence, it concerns the building of a national identity which can unite the maintenance of corporative traditions with participation in modernisation. The concept of Central Europe has been largely shaped by perception of the middle ground between Germany and Russia. Yet the concept was also influenced by the situation in Austrian Galicia, which was conducive to Polish, national development. It is no coincidence that the earliest concept of (East) Central Europe, the so-called Jagiellonian Idea, came from the Cracow School of History. As it reflects the Polish uprising of 1863 and the growing tension between Austria and Russia, it has an anti-Russian bias.

After the First World War, concepts of Central Europe depended above all on how the different Polish governments reacted to the international situation. Roman Dmowski’s National Democracy Movement (Endecja) considered Central Europe mainly as a defence against the German “drive towards the East”, which explains the good relations with Czechoslovakia. From this constellation arose the idea of a federal, post-imperial Central Europe under Polish leadership.

On the other hand, the Sanacja government of Józef Piłsudski, which took over power in 1926 and many of whose members were former activists from the time of Russian occupation, saw Central Europe primarily as a buffer against the Soviet Union.

The interwar years saw Poland already struggling with the dilemma of being a “little big country”. It is too big – in terms of its population and area – for small Central European contexts and too small – in terms of its economic and military potential – to implement its ambitious plans and confront the European big powers on equal terms. This dilemma was solved by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939 and the 1945 integration of Poland into the Soviet sphere of influence, which neither the plan of a Polish-Czechoslovakian confederation which had been discussed during the war, nor the post war attempt to form a Polish-Czechoslovakian economic alliance as a new, Central European axis could change.

Few concepts of Central Europe were drafted under communist rule in Poland, as ideas which concerned the defence of Poland against the East could not be openly discussed, whilst an ideological defence against Germany after Nazi occupation required no special concept of Central Europe. One early exception is the plan drafted in 1957 by the Polish foreign minister Adam Rapacki to make Central Europe into a nuclear free zone. A substantial change in the situation only occurred when organised opposition arose, based upon the CSCE Final Act, out of which the workers’ union Solidarność was born. The Polish opposition was united with like-minded opinion in other East European states not only through its resistance of communist power but also its overcoming of the geopolitical situation.

Slovakia – Central Europe as path to national liberation

The Slovak concept of Central Europe reflects the fact that modern Slovakia belonged to the underdeveloped regions of the Hungarian Empire in the 19th century and was still largely an agricultural society at the beginning of the 20th. An attempt was made by a small Slovak elite to stem the tide of magyarisation. In contrast to the Croatians, who were left with at least partial autonomy, and the Romanians and the Serbs in Hungary who could rely on the protection of neighbouring Romanian and Serbian empires, the Slovaks had no “guardian angel”. Neither cooperation with the other non-Hungarian nations of the Hungarian Empire nor Czech-Slovak collaboration could entirely make up for this deficit. Therefore the Slovak elite turned towards Russia. Many Slovaks saw in Russia a protector for their nation along the lines of the Russian support for the Slavic peoples of the Balkan in the latter’s fight against the Ottoman Empire.

The revolution of 1905 triggered a radical split in Slovak politics. The younger generation in particular began to question the orientation towards Russia. Among them was the journalist and agrarian, Milan Hodža, one of the members of the so-called Belvedere Circle around the heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este, who were considering federalisation of the Hungarian territory. At the latest since the outbreak of the First World War, Slovak concepts of Central Europe centred on collaboration with the Czechs and the forming a Czechoslovakian state. This was to serve as a defence against Hungarian revisionism in the interwar period. Milan Hodža, who remained the central figure in Slovak politics, wanted to enshrine this in a central European federation, to which Poland should also belong. By contrast, however, the Slovak “protector” of the war years was just as ready as revisionist Hungary to confederate with the axis powers and to adopt their imperial concept of Central Europe in order to see its ambitions of a nation state become reality.

After the Second World War, Slovakia returned to the re-established – now minus Carpatho-Ukraine – Czechoslovakia and together they became part of the Soviet bloc. Hodža’s spiritual heirs could now make their voices heard only in exile. Slovak dissidents represented two different concepts of Central Europe. The Catholic wing saw in Central Europe a space in which Slovak statehood could unfold in the context of western Christianity, while simultaneously keeping the back door open to the Orthodox East. The secular wing, on the other hand, was in favour of making Slovakia part of a bourgeois, pro-western Central Europe.

Czech Republic – Central Europe as space for the nation’s evolution

The first Czech concepts of Central Europe date from the 1840s. Their aim was to fulfil the aspirations of the Czech nationalist movement. Central Europe was given equal status with the territory of the Austrian Empire in the process. Geopolitically, it was seen as locked in between Russian autocracy and German hegemony. In Central Europe, the Czech nation was to flourish by co-operating with the other Slavic nations of the Empire (Austroslavism) and creating a federalisation of Austria-Hungary. The dilemma of this Czech concept of Central Europe was that the perception of the two great powers in West and East Central Europe as nothing but a danger blocked answers to the question of how to handle the Habsburg monarchy’s disinclination to satisfy Czech national aspirations.

This concept of Central Europe faded after the Austro-Hungarian adjustment [“Ausgleich”] of 1866 and particularly with the Austrian-German rapprochement during the last third of the 19th century. In its place, the idea of a Central Europe of nation states emerged, but the First World War finally put paid to all reform proposals for the Habsburg monarchy. The idea now arose of making Central Europe into a community of modern nations. The answer to the collapse of the empire was to be a federation at whose centre was the joint state of Czechoslovakia. This was the agenda set by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, in exile in America, where he founded the Central European Democratic Union (Středoevropská demokratická unie). However, this idea was quickly overtaken by events. Though the representatives of the various central European nations within the Democratic Union were in agreement over wishing to extricate themselves from the old empire their ability and, ultimately, their will to create a permanent and universally acceptable commonwealth for the central European area was extremely weak. So, all that remained of the idea of a Central European confederation was Czechoslovakia. As Czech politicians had failed to make this the core of a central European community they saw themselves forced, along with two Balkan states – Yugoslavia and Romania – to build a counterweight to Hungarian revisionism in the form of the “Little Entente”.

All externally introduced ideas for a new order in Central Europe, for instance the Tardieu-Plan, similarly failed – at least on the veto of Germany, which claimed this region as its special area of interest. It was not only the concept of Central Europe that disappeared when the National Socialists took power. Central Europe itself disappeared as well – if not as a politically organised, then at least as an unmistakeably distinct – region. Its death knell was sounded by the collapse of the “Little Entente” and the Munich Agreement.

The various currents of Czech political thinking reacted to the breakup of Czechoslovakia in Munich and the experience of the Second World War with very different visions of a Czech and Central European future. The exiled Czechoslovakian politicians in the West began negotiating for the creation of a Czechoslovakian-Polish confederation which would have bound two countries which had previously not been on particularly good terms. This idea failed as a result of differing views on the relationship to the Soviet Union and power struggles between the two countries. After the end of the war, a further attempt was made to create a Czechoslovakian-Polish economic union. The onset of the Cold War thwarted these plans, however, and for a long time Central Europe became part of the more all-encompassing communist Eastern Europe.

After 1948, the Czech debate on Central Europe primarily moved to the unsolved issues of Czech national history. At the centre was the heritage of Austria-Hungary, the Czech national question, sense and non-sense of the Czechoslovakian state. This contraction of the Czech debate on Central Europe was not ended until Milan Kundera’s now-famous essay of 1984 in which he described – just before the start of Perestroika – Central Europe’s shift towards the East as its key problem.[v] Kundera understood Central Europe first and foremost as a cultural phenomenon, and in focusing on the issue of a common culture he also saw the solution to all of Central Europe’s problems. The rediscovery of Jewish culture and the many names of central European writers, artists and musicians testify to this. This cultural definition of Central Europe forms the base of all abstract and concrete ideas of Central Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the names and places that Kundera uses are nowadays successfully marketed by the tourist industry. But the renewal of “non-eastern” Central Europe since Kundera has had the positive side effect of giving the region as a whole, always viewed from outside as an unmanageable tangle of nations and religions, one simple definition with a clear geographic location.

Visegrád – a central European coma patient

This tour d’horizon has shown that Central European-ness for Central Europeans has up to now had something of a virtual and compensatory nature. In the interwar years, abstract and concrete concepts of Central Europe vied with each other, during the Second World War, even the Central Europeans were fighting on different sides. Soviet hegemony finally brought all Central European hostages under one roof. There, they recognised that Central Europe was the only alternative to an Eastern Europe stretching all the way from the Elbe to the Pacific, to which they assigned the Soviet Union, but also the West.

Hence what did and did not constitute Central Europe was for a long time determined by specific inside interests or external powers. Central Europeans all had common interests for the first time briefly towards the end of the First World War, then not again until after the establishment of the Soviet hegemony. This was still noticeable in the concerted efforts within NATO and the EU. In the 1990s too, as outside pressure welded Central Europe together, Central European countries rarely hesitated when the chance of a comparative advantage appeared. Once Central Europe’s “kidnapper”, the Soviet Union, withdrew from Central Europe, it became apparent that complicated, intellectual deliberations were not enough to unite the Central European countries. The first political clouds were fast approaching on the horizon of the cultural idyll.[vi]

When the idea of a Czechoslovakian-Polish confederation was revived by Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1989, Poland reacted with great interest. However, expectations were immediately subdued by the reaction in Prague. The new Czechoslovakian president, Václav Havel, told the polish press: “Just because you have been advised to do this by a U.S. politician, Czechs and Slovaks do not have to go along with it.[vii] The foreign ministry in Prague saw the suggestion as an attempt to build a new regional block.[viii] It did not take much to give the impression that the Czech Republic in particular wanted to go west and did not need Central Europe for this in the slightest. This was exactly the Czech intention.

The fate of the Alpine-Adriatic Group, which had been founded in 1989 as the so-called “quadrangle”, illustrated the problem of achieving political unity in Central Europe even more clearly.[ix] In the early 1990s, Budapest wanted to be active in foreign affairs, especially in this region. Czechoslovakia could come along too, if need be. And the group did indeed expand in May 1990 to form a “pentangle”. Poland was also interested in joining. This failed to occur, as apprehension still existed that Poland might question its eastern borders, thus bringing unlimited problems into the “quadrangle”.[x] The Czech President Havel summed up the reservations at a meeting of Central European countries in Bratislava in April 1990 with the throwaway line that Poland belonged “not inside the “quadrangle”, but inside the Baltic region”.[xi] This was a confirmation to Warsaw that the Czechs did indeed wish to go it alone, but it did not give up its desire to join. A year later Poland was taken into the “pentangle” but only in time to participate in the latter’s swan song.

With the fall of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, the “pentangle” was transformed into the Central European Initiative, of which the internal arrangement was very different from its outward goal definition. The extent to which Warsaw longed for regional integration was shown by Poland’s participation in the founding of the Visegrád Group even before it had joined the Central European Initiative.[xii]

Its development produced countless examples of how very different the historically shaped interests of the Central European countries were. Though little divergence came to the surface in the first year of the Visegrád Group, this changed with the collapse of Czechoslovakia. From the outset, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary certainly had very different motives for forming the Group. As with German reunification earlier, the collapse of Yugoslavia, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the putsch in Moscow in August 1991, were viewed very differently in Warsaw, Prague and Bratislava.[xiii] There was no sign whatsoever of a common approach.

Little outside support was forthcoming either, uneasy as the west European countries were about the sudden changes. They would rather have seen a sizable stability pact to replace the Warsaw Pact, than Central European cooperation.[xiv] In addition, the fact that numerous members of the former opposition movements were included in drafting the respective foreign policies did not mean there were no personal animosities and rivalries. Similar problems plagued every post communist Central European society.

Nonetheless, competition for the reputation as the country with least problems was fierce on the march westwards. At this stage, the belief in a common Central European cultural heritage and the unifying experience of the fight against the communist regime was able to cover up the disagreements and conflicts. This belief lent the Group a certain cohesive strength, the emphasis on culture helped it to shake off everything eastern and present itself as part of the West.

But the other Central Europe was simultaneously already revealing itself and, with its political differences, was in no way reminiscent of the cultural idyll. In Poland, the Jagiellonian Idea was enjoying a revival, federal concepts from the interwar years were streaming into the new “Ostpolitik” and with them the idea that Poland could expect to play the role of a regional great power, which increased conflict with Russia. In Hungary, the “Trianon” and the concerns about the Hungarian minorities living outside Hungary became important political issues. For the Czechs, and Slovaks, the collapse of the federation was followed by much beating about the bush over German-Czech reconciliation and an ongoing Slovak-Hungarian squabble.

These were all purely national issues: There was no sign of a common Central European understanding of the problems, let alone a common Central European solution. Polish disputes with Russia were given short shrift or simply ignored by the other members of the Visegrád Group. Hungary enjoyed good relations with Russia, to the Czech Republic, Russia was very distant. In Bratislava, on the contrary, there was an attraction to Russia. Hungary’s minority politics on the other hand, threatened to embroil the northern members of the Visegrád Group in the problems of the Baltic, from which they were trying rather to distance themselves, if anything. Once the West had given the Central European “Brussels express” the red light, even attempting a partial shunt into the station with the pleasant name of “Central Europe”, the four countries were certainly no longer marching in step towards the West.[xv]

If Central European heterogeneity may have been curbed as long as the four countries’ politics were characterised by former dissidents, the cohesive bridges were finally broken by the Czechoslovakian elections of 1992. The unifying revolutionary lyricism died down, to be replaced by a sometimes highly naturalistic transformation prose which, particularly in the case of Václav Klaus, told how the country’s internal reorganisation was now successfully completed and it no longer belonged to Central Europe, let alone Eastern Europe but was already part of the West. The Prague leadership which took office in mid-1992 saw the Visegrád Group as ballast which could only delay them on their triumphant procession westwards. On the other hand, Slovakia, under the Mečiar regime, began again to look east, while relations with Hungary worsened. As this government managed to alienate Poland as well with its foreign policy, the Prague government was actually the most important Slovak cooperation partner, even if the former wanted nothing to do with the idea of regional cooperation apart from “normal relations” between two nation states.

All this resulted in great disenchantment as the concept of Central Europe landed on the rough ground of Central European reality. A change of leadership sufficed and the celebrated Visegrád Group was pronounced clinically dead. The chances of the Group ever reviving were further reduced by the formation of the Central European Free Trade Area (CEFTA), which limited the idea of Central Europe a reduction in customs duties.

The disintegration of Central Europe into an unorganised mêlée of national special interests could not be halted either by the common interest shared by Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in joining NATO.[xvi] Once the US President Bill Clinton visited Prague in 1994 it became clear that, instead of staging a concerted operation, the Central European countries would rather go it alone in securing for themselves a piece of the western cake. The Czech Republic excelled particularly at this, which earned it open criticism of its uncontrolled behaviour from Budapest and Warsaw.[xvii] The countries were fortunate in that NATO expansion depended not so much on their willingness and ability to cooperate but was to a large extent a function of the relations between the Alliance and Russia.[xviii]

The Visegrád Group finally awoke from the coma it had been put in by the arrival of Presidents Václav Klaus (Czech Republic) and Vladimír Mečiar (Slovakia), when both lost office in 1998. A further nudge towards closer cooperation was the fact that the Slovak Republic was not invited to the NATO summit in Madrid in 1997. Finally, in 1998, the preparations for the eastern expansion of the EU were concretised and the European Commission required the four countries to show that they were mature enough to join by cooperating within the Visegrád Group.[xix]

How much of it remained was clear by 2003 at the latest when it became apparent that the four countries would soon join the EU. At the meeting of the Council of the European Union in Thessaloniki, which negotiated the EU Constitutional Treaty, the position of the four countries was still close on those questions on which all countries were unanimous. They were equally unanimous over the question that a strengthening of the EU’s security and defence policies should not lead a weakening of the role of the United States in Europe. However, even the question of institutional form revealed wide divergences in the positions.[xx] Poland in particular undermined a common stance by wanting to stand as an equal partner alongside the main EU countries instead of representing a Central European position alongside the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Hungary, or other smaller and middle-sized countries.[xxi] In addition, Poland’s adulation of the United States went too far not just for some of the older EU members but also for the other three Visegrád countries.


The Visegrád policy pursued by the four member countries over the last 15 years have followed four different concepts.[xxii] Visegrád was vital for Slovakia. As Slovakia began to orientate itself towards Russia under Mečiar, it retained connections to Central and West Europe thanks to regional cooperation. After Mečiar’s downfall, cooperation with Visegrád was crucial to forming ties with NATO and the EU. The Polish concept of Visegrád, on the other hand, was more functionalistic. Warsaw viewed regional cooperation as a means of strengthening Poland’s role in Europe and enabling it to achieve its goals in the post-Soviet region as well as in relation to the west European big powers. In the case of Hungary, its Visegrád policy embrace/s twin concepts. Budapest combines its regional intentions with wanting to be part of euro-atlantic integration, yet integration into NATO and the EU is precisely what has contributed to confining greater-Hungarian politics in the Central European region. Finally, the Czech Visegrád policy is minimalist. Prague never really needed regional cooperation and showed this, sometimes to excess. At the same time, it could not afford to leave the group as this would have endangered its reputation as a country capable of intergovernmental cooperation.

So the Visegrád Cooperation represents a compromise between established national concepts. However, the geographical borders and internal definitions differ so much from present Central European alignments that in none of the four countries can “Visegrád” be convincingly aligned with tradition and hence historical legitimation is lacking. Rather, it is these very historical issues which hinder the Group’s cohesion whenever an influential politician or an entire political party drags one of the numerous “skeletons” of the past out of the Central European cupboard. Consequently, close Central European cooperation functions only in times of great pressure from outside, whilst in times of external detente, internal conflict increases.


Translated by Helen Carter, Berlin


[i]      Robin Okey, “Central Europe/Eastern Europe: Behind the Definitions”, in Past and Present, 137,1992, pp. 102-133.

[ii]     Hans Georg-Betz, “Mitteleuropa and Post-Modern European Identity”, in New German Critique, 50,1990, pp. 173-192, here pp. 184-185.

[iii]    The British historican Eric Hobsbawm described this term as “inherently racist, reinvented to divide the countries of “Eastern Europe.” Gábor Bátonyi, Central Europe, in Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing. Vol. 1, A-L; Kelly Boyd (ed.) (London, Chicago 1999), p.. 192.

[iv]    Piotr Wandycz, “The Myths and Complexes of East Central Europe”, in Polish Foreign Affairs Digest, 1,2001, pp. 133-138, here p. 138.

[v]     Milan Kundera, “The Tragedy of Central Europe”, in New York Review of Books, 26 April 1984, p. 33-38.

[vi]    For the self image of the Central European post communist elite and the role of dissidents cf. Michael Bernhard, “Civil Society and Democratic Transition in East Central Europe”, in Political Science Quarterly, 2,1993, pp. 307-326.

[vii]   Życie Warszawy, 29 January 1990.

[viii]  Lidia Buczma, “Czecho-Slowacja wobec „Trójkąta“ Warszawa-Praga-Budapeszt”, in Sprawy Międzynarodowe, 11,1991, pp. 38-39.

[ix]    Jenö Horváth, “Contributions to the History of Regional Co-operation in the Eastern and Central European region (1989-1997)”, in Society and Economy, 1-2,1998.

[x]     Józef Fiszer, “Geneza i dzialałność Inicjatywy Środkowoeuropejskiej”, in Studia polityczne, 11,2000, pp. 194-196. – Marian Szczepaniak, “Inicjatywa Środkowoeuropejska (1989-1997)”, in Studia Historica Slavo-Germanica XXII (Poznań 1997), p. 220.

[xi]    Dariusz Fikus, “Środkowoeuropejski szczyt w Bratysławie”, in Rzeczpospolita, 11 April 1990.

[xii]   Grażyna Bernatowicz, “Od Pentagonale do Heksagonale”, in Sprawy Międzynarodowe, 12,1991, p. 35.

[xiii]  Wayne C. Thompson, “Germany and the East”, in Europe-Asia Studies, 6,2001; pp. 921-952, here pp. 923-926.

[xiv]  Dienstbier, Od snění k realitě. Vzpomínky z let 1989-1990 (Praha 1999), p. 61.

[xv]   Kjell Goldmann, “Nationalism and Internationalism in Post-Cold War Europe”, in European Journal of International Relations, 3,1997, pp. 259-290, here p. 276.

[xvi]  The contemporary debate over security politics is in the Visegrád Group is brilliantly described by Paul C. Latawski, The Security Route to Europe: the Visegrád Four (London 1994).

[xvii] Barbara Sierszuła, “NATO otwarte”, in Rzeczpospolita, 14 January 1994. For further comments, cf. e.g. Andrzej Jagodziński, “Korespondencja”, in Gazeta Wyborcza, 5 January 1994 and 11 January 1994.

[xviii]                 William Wallace, “From the Atlantic to the Bug, from the Arctic to the Tigris? The Transformation of the EU and NATO”, in International Affairs, 3,2000, pp. 475-494, here pp. 482-483.

[xix]  Richard Outrata, Michaela Gajdošová (eds.), Effects and perspectives of cooperation of Visegrád countries and of their EU integration (Bratislava 2002) [= Institute of Slovak and World Economy].

[xx]   David Král, Profil zemí visegrádské skupiny v debatě o budoucnosti Evropy; <www.euractiv.sk/cl/67/355/Profil-zemi-Visegradske-skupiny-v-debate-o-budoucnosti-Evropy>.

[xxi]  Thus, Poland took the same position as Germany and France regarding the election of the President of the European Commission and tried to come into line with them in the Weimar Triangle.

[xxii] These categories were delineated early on by George Kolankiewicz, “Consensus and Competition in the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union”, in International Affairs, 3,1994, pp. 477-495.

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