The Visegrad Group, also called the Visegrad Four or V4, is an alliance of four Central European states – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – for the purposes of cooperation and furthering their European integration. The Group's name in the languages of the four countries is Visegrádská čtyřka or Visegrádská skupina (Czech); Visegrádi Együttműködés (Hungarian); Grupa Wyszehradzka (Polish); and Vyšehradská štvorka (Slovak). It is also sometimes called the Visegrád Triangle, since it was the alliance of three states at the beginning - the term is not valid now, but appears sometimes even after all the years since Czechoslovakia dissolved.
The Group originated in a summit meeting of the heads of state or government of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland held in the Hungarian castle town of Visegrád on February 15 1991 (not to be mistaken with Vyšehrad, a castle in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic).
The name of the Group is derived, and the place of meeting selected, from a meeting of the Bohemian, Polish and Hungarian rulers in Visegrád in 1335. Charles I of Hungary, Casimir III of Poland and the Bohemian king, John of Luxembourg, agreed to create new commercial routes to bypass the staple port Vienna and obtain easier access to other European markets. No "group" was created at that time, however. A second meeting took place in 1339, deciding on the new king of Poland.
The only institution of the Visegrad co-operation is the International Visegrad Fund, established in 1999, with the seat in Bratislava. According to a decision of the prime ministers, the Fund has an annual budget of EUR 5 million since 2007 onwards. In 11 annual deadlines the Fund awards grants, scholarships and artist residencies.
On 27 April 2006, the V4 WG on Energy met in Prague with the aim of discussing recommendations for V4 energy ministers concerning topics negotiated at ministerial level meetings. The WG elaborated recommendations concerning four groups of problems: