Budapest Declaration on the establishment of New V4lley Regional Digital Knowledge Hub

We, the representatives of the ICT associations of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries, convening at the ‘SMART Region: A New V4lley Emerges’ event in Budapest and online on June 10, 2021, adopt hereby the following Declaration.

A New V4lley Emerges

RECOGNIZING the solid ties of cooperation between the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic in the development of the digital economy, and digital transformation of the CEE region represented, among others, in the Krakow Declaration signed by the Prime Ministers of the V4 countries on February 17, 2021,

RECALLING the conclusions of the Krakow Declaration concerning the importance of building a joint cooperation framework in digital and R&D&I affairs, including the establishment of joint V4 digital projects, inter alia computing and data infrastructure, Big Data, Industry 4.0, cloud and edge networks, high performance computing (HPC), quantum computing, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, machine learning, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity, smart and digital skills and competences, telecommunication, etc.),

WELCOMING the recent establishment of Virtual Office for V4 Digital Projects, selecting national coordinators in each V4 countries of joint V4 digital projects,

ACKNOWLEDGING the progress in each country and at regional level made over recent years due to joint actions taken within the V4 cooperation, with more and more regional companies overcoming the disadvantages of the relatively small local markets and successfully competing on the international level,

RECOGNIZING the efforts of governments of the V4 countries to facilitate sustainable digital transformation of the region by effective use of EU resources available under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and NextGenerationEU,

UNDERLINING the need to support and strengthen the V4 professional cooperation in the sustainable and balanced development of all elements of the digital ecosystem, further improving the effectiveness of the Digital V4 initiative launched by the signatories of this Declaration in 2019,

REITERATING the commitments of the ICT associations of the V4 countries to promote, support and facilitate digital transformation in their respective countries as well as on a regional level, both as members of the Digital Europe network and as devoted supporters of regional cooperation in the framework of the Digital V4 cooperation,

EMPHASIZING the need for cooperation and knowledge-sharing at all levels of the V4 countries, including the establishment of knowledge resources, organizing joint international events, exchanging best practices and mutually promoting V4 achievements in the field of digitalisation, with a special emphasis on results of cross-border projects,

RECOGNIZING the importance of awareness-raising among ICT companies and other innovative SMEs and start-ups of the V4 countries to the benefits of establishing cross-border cooperation (including investments and financial opportunities),

REALIZING that there is a need for measuring the actual size as well as contribution to GDP growth and employment of the digital economy, but the current statistical methodology is not sufficient to do so; due to the lack of harmonised measurement policy makers do not have reliable data to substantiate public and development policy decisions.

Hereby declare the establishment of the New V4lley Regional Digital Knowledge Hub to further strengthen the bilateral and multilateral professional cooperation among representatives of the ICT industries of V4 (and potentially all CEE) countries in the following fields:

  1. Initiating joint efforts to support the digitalization and innovation driven economic development of the V4 countries and in the CEE region, contributing to the improvement of competitiveness and social inclusion.
  2. Strengthening and further improving the well-established cooperation between the ICT organizations of the region by establishing a framework for knowledge-sharing and the exchange of expertise, best practices and innovative ideas.
  3. Answering the call of Visegrad Group Joint Declaration on Mutual Cooperation in Digital Projects by offering our extensive experience to serve as a regional knowledge hub regarding digital projects across the Visegrad Group.
  4. Establishing an operative network of institutions to support the policy level cooperation of the V4 governments, comprising of ICT organizations, consultancy companies and governmental institutions.
  5. Setting up an agenda and working plan for the proposed digital knowledge hub by identifying and adapting the best practices of each founding organizations.
  6. Placing a special emphasis on the measurement of the digital economy, recognizing that exact metrics, as well as effective research and measurement methods are critically important to determine future digital strategies as cornerstones of the national and regional competitiveness and resilience.
  7. Analysing the digitalisation level of other branches of the economy, the level of shortage in digital workforce and the potential labour market interventions to lessen this shortage, as well as the digital attitudes and development of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises.
  8. Focusing also on the encouragement and support of the start-up, scale-up and innovation ecosystems on a regional level.
  9. Working together to secure EU funds for digital transformation, in particular for joint V4 digital projects.
  10. Supporting the public policy making and the programming of development policies by collecting and sharing the best practices from each Member State relating to digital development programmes.
  11. Taking part in the execution of certain programmes that require the competences and expertise of the ICT organizations and their members.
  12. Contributing to the development of a data-driven economy and digital skills of the workforce by using the extensive expertise of our organizations and our member companies to tackle the challenges ahead for Virtual Office for V4 Digital Projects.
  13. Contributing to the search for regional solutions to the European and global challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, by identifying and analysing the best solutions from different Member States.
  14. Initiating joint efforts to secure stable financing for the operation and planned projects of the New V4lley Regional Digital Knowledge Hub by funding from central, cross-border and local EU financed projects, dedicated support from the V4 Group and individual Member States, as well as attracting sponsorship resources from market players with a regional perspective.

ICT associations representing the digital industries of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries, with a special focus on the Three Seas Initiative’s countries, as well as other digital industry stakeholders are welcome to join this declaration. This declaration does not create any rights or obligations under international law and is not legally enforceable.

On behalf of ASE – Consumer Electronics Association (Czech Republic):
On behalf of IVSZ (Hungary):
On behalf of Digital Poland Foundation (Republic of Poland):
On behalf of ITAS, the IT Association of Slovakia (Slovak Republic):