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Tribute to 4 significant personalities from Visegrád Group countries

The Embassies of Visegrád Group countries in Denmark arranged a joint panel discussion as a tribute to four remarkable political figures that fought for democracy in their countries. The event took place at the prestigious premises of Designmuseum Danmark in the center of Copenhagen on Tuesday 7 June 2011.

Slovak writer and diplomat Josef Banáš presented Alexander Dubček (1921–1992), a Slovak politician known for his attempt to reform the Communist regime during the Prague Spring in 1968. Czech journalist, signatory of Charter 77, professor and translator Tomáš Vrba talked about Jiří Dienstbier(1937–2011), one of Eastern Europe’s leading dissidents, the first Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Post-Communist Czechoslovakia and a key figure during the years of transition to democracy. Former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Adam Daniel Rotfeld commemorated Bronisław Geremek (1932–2008), a historian, politician, statesman and convinced European, one of the leading figures of liberation movements in Central Europe. Former Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Géza Jeszensky presented József Antall (1932–1993),the first democratically-elected Prime Minister of Hungary after the fall of Communism.

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From the left: Polish Ambassador Rafal Wisniewski, Hungarian Ambassador Ferenc Szebényi, representative of the European Commission representation in Denmark Michael Vedsø, Czech Ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka, Slovak Ambassador Radomír Boháč, Slovak writer Josef Banáš, Former Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Adam Daniel Rotfeld, Former Hungarian Minister of Foreign AffairsGéza Jeszensky and Czech journalist Tomáš Vrba. Photo: Hasse Ferrold

The distinguished Danish politician and journalist Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, longstanding Chairman of the Liberal Party Venstre (1984-98) and President of the Danish Foreign Policy Society (Det Udenrigspolitiske Selskab), kindly agreed to host the event.

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Participants of the panel discussion (from the left): Former Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Géza Jeszensky, Czech journalist Tomáš Vrba, Slovak writer Josef Banáš, former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Adam Daniel Rotfeld and former Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Uffe Ellemann-Jensen. Photo: Hasse Ferrold

As an introduction, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen talked about his personal experiences with the four deceased politicians: I have had the privilege to meet them all – and two of them became personal friends. They are no longer among us – but their names will always remain part of European history.

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Uffe Ellemann-Jensen during his introductory speech

Thereafter, the speakers introduced the four personalities in separate speeches and a panel discussion, where the audience asked questions, followed. Informal discussions continued after, when the guests were offered refreshments provided by the cooperating four Embassies. Afterwards The Hungarian Ambassador arranged a common dinner for the participants and Ambassadors of the Visegrád Group countries.

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Czech journalist and translator Tomáš Vrba talked about Jiří Dienstbier

The event was initiated by the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Copenhagen and was arranged by the Embassies of the Visegrád Group countries in Denmark, European Commission Representation in Denmark and the Danish Foreign Policy Society. The Czech Embassy contributed considerably to the organisation and promotion of the event. Thanks to the cooperation with the Danish Foreign Policy Society the event addressed broader Danish public (around 100 guests including journalists and diplomats attended the event). The guests were also interested in information brochures and other materials on Visegrád Group available at the foyer.

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During the discussion