Czech foreign policy so far lacks any deeper conceptual thinking about the broader Central and Eastern European (CEE) region, which together includes the Baltic States, the Visegrad Group countries, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.
However, the CEE region deserves a targeted policy today. Firstly, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the security environment in Eastern Europe has deteriorated, requiring the cooperation of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Secondly, CEE is a region with great potential for economic growth. The Czech Republic should thus conceive of Central and Eastern Europe as its natural economic area offering the export-oriented economy potential for further expansion. Thirdly, is it necessary the infrastructure interconnection in the region needs to be improved. Fourthly, the key issue is the political stability in the region. The decline of the rule of law, corruption, state-capture or the weakness of public institutions are phenomena that several countries in the region are facing or have faced.
This policy paper focuses on these four areas, firstly assessing the state of play, and secondly, proposing steps that the Czech foreign policy could take.