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International Conference „The Little Entente Centenary (1921-2021)“

(This article expired 09.12.2022 / 18:00.)

On 9 December 2021, the Titulescu European Foundation and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Romania organised a conference in Bucharest on the centenary of the bilateral military treaty between Czechoslovakia and Romania, which became one of the foundations of the military-political alliance between Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia in 1921-1938. It took place in a hybrid form symbolically at the residence of Nicolae Titulescu, who together with Edvard Beneš was one of the important architects of the joint alliance of the three countries of South-Eastern and Central Europe.

The theme of the international conference, attended by Czech, Slovak and Romanian historians, academics and political scientists, was the significance of the Little Entente in the interwar period and its legacy for the present.

The conference, moderated by the President of the Titulescu European Foundation, Adrian Nastase (former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania), was opened by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, Mihaela Camarasan, and the Deputy Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, Tomáš Kopečný. In addition to the stabilizing role played by the Little Entente in the strategic region, DM Kopečný emphasized the importance of the Little Entente for the technological development of the arms industry in Czechoslovakia and in the building of the country's intelligence service. We quote from his speech:

"The Little Entente was our strategic bulwark against the growing pressure of Germany and Hungary, but it was also an important commercial alliance. Throughout the duration of the Little Entente, our defence exports were oriented here (and 25 to 50% of them). The Pact also jointly dealt with the economic crisis, the recognition of the USSR or railway interconnection (without tariffs), etc. It also sought a common customs union and economic space, but the war hampered everything. The success of Czechoslovak defence exports to the Small Agreement states was also due to the then (1932-37) military attaché in Romania, General Heliodor Píka. During his tenure, he made many important contacts and after Munich was commissioned by President Beneš to organize a branch of the resistance in the Balkans, codenamed Dora. Despite adversity, Romania remained our strategic partner (it helped liberate the country and refused to invade us in 1968). The historical footprint is really strong and today's joint (not only) industrial cooperation is only blossoming."

 On behalf of the Czech side at the international conference also spoke the Czech Ambassador to Romania H.E. Dr. Halka Kaiserová, the Director of the Institute of International Relations Dr. Ondřej Ditrych and the historian of the Military Historical Institute Dr. Karel Straka. The conference was attended by ambassadors and representatives of the Balkan countries.

The conference included the opening of the exhibition on th Little Entente from the archives of the MFA of Romania and the Czech Republic, which was opened by the author of the exhibition, Dr. Doru Liciu, Director of the MFA of Romania archives. A philatelic cover of the first day was also published on the occasion of the conference.