Could Austria join the Visegrád Group?

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Series Details 27.10.17
Publication Date 27/10/2017
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The Visegrad Group (also known as the 'Visegrad Four' or simply 'V4') reflects the efforts of the countries of the Central European region to work together in a number of fields of common interest within the all-European integration. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have always been part of a single civilization sharing cultural and intellectual values and common roots in diverse religious traditions, which they wish to preserve and further strengthen.

The V4 cooperation can currently be referred to as the most clearly profiled initiative in Central Europe. The backbone of this cooperation consists of mutual contacts at all levels—from the highest-level political summits to expert and diplomatic meetings, to activities of the non-governmental associations in the region, think-tanks and research bodies, cultural institutions or numerous networks of individuals.

Visegrad cooperation is not institutionalized in any manner. It is based solely on the principle of periodical meetings of its representatives at various levels (from the high-level meetings of prime ministers and heads of states to expert consultations). Official summits of V4 prime ministers takes place on an annual basis. Between these summits, one of the V4 countries holds presidency, part of which is the responsibility for drafting a one-year plan of action (see the Presidency Programs).

Austria: General Election, 15 October 2017
A general election was in Austria on the 15 October 2017. The results gave Sebastian Kurz's Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) a clear win, with 31.6% of the vote. The Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) finished second with 52 seats, slightly ahead of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), which received 51 seats.
The leader of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), Heinz-Christian Strache, has previously proposed that Austria could join the Visegrád Group of nations, which currently consists of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. With the FPÖ likely to become a junior member of the next Austrian government in coalition with the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), is this now a realistic prospect?

Paul Schmidt explains why the scenario of Austria joining the Visegrád Group remains unlikely, and why the country will still look first to Berlin and Paris for its approach to Europe, rather than to Warsaw or Budapest.

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Reuters, 09.10.17: Far right wants Austria to join group of anti-immigrant states
The, 13.09.16: Austria's Hofer wants broader Visegrad group

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