This year, despite the exceptional situation, the Visegrad Youth Forum was organized for the ninth time in Banská Bystrica, thanks to which young academics and experts from the V4 countries and the partner country of Austria met on the virtual ground. This year, the accompanying event, following the content side of the project, realized in cooperation with a partner organization, took place in an unconventional way using an online platform. The live broadcast of the discussion provided space for questions from the general public on the topic of the Visegrad Group as regional cooperation: the Austrian perspective. VYF 2020 culminated in a two-day conference on December 3-4, 2020.
The president of the Euro-Atlantic Center Tomáš Čekme opened the online conference with an introductory speech. Subsequently, the conference continued with a panel discussion focused on the impact of the unprecedented situation of the spread of the coronavirus on the mutual relations of the countries of the V4+ format. Speakers from the member countries of the Visegrad Group and Austria discussed the perspective of the development of mutual relations between the countries after 2020. The panel discussion was broadcast live on the channels of the Euro-Atlantic Center via the YouTube platform. The panel discussion was followed by three workshops through which the participants, under the guidance of young leaders and experts, thought about the possibilities of policy unification and cooperation within the V4+ countries in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The main question of the workshops was whether the virus will unite and strengthen or, on the contrary, divide these countries. The participants tried to develop unified positions serving as the basis of a constructive dialogue between the V4 countries aimed at adapting to the given situation and deepening the cooperation between the individual countries of the Visegrad Group and Austria, creating the V5 format, or a more institutionalized form of cooperation, for example, in the model of the Central European Federation.
The second and final day of the conference took place in the form of a full-day simulation of the North Atlantic Council meeting, which was focused on the impact and impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on the organization’s security structure. The participants represented individual delegations of NATO member states, whose task was to determine the direction of the largest security regional organization in the world in the context of the ongoing pandemic and escalating cyber attacks. Respecting all epidemiological measures, the simulation took place in the online space.
The Visegrad Youth Forum is a project organized by the Euroatlantic Center in cooperation with partner organizations from the V4 countries and Austria, namely the Junior Diplomat Initiative, The Polish Forum of Young Diplomats, Mathias Corvinus Collegium, Institute for Danube Region and Central Europe and the Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. The ninth year of the Visegrad Youth Forum took place thanks to the support of the NATO Public Diplomacy Section, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic and the City of Banská Bystrica.