Diplomacy: Wary Mitteleuropeans to share embassies

7 September 2009 – Presseurop Hospodářské Noviny

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The Visegrád Group — which includes Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary — plans to cut the cost of foreign representation by opening shared embassies and consulates in certain countries of Central Asia, Africa and Latin America.*Hospodářské Noviny*expresses surprise *at the announcement of "greater diplomatic collaboration" *in view of recent tensions over the issue of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, which have led to hostile exchanges that the Czech business daily describes as "worthy of a gangster movie."

Warsaw takes the view that the plan "could pave the way for more common diplomatic initiatives within the EU." However, the current proposals are limited to the sharing of real estate with no real scope for shared diplomacy because the Visegrád Group is an informal structure, which has no mandate to represent its members in third countries. The Prague daily further points out that embassy real-estate sharing is already practiced by Scandinavian countries "who make use of common embassy buildings in faraway countries, and also in Berlin."

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