Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

         česky   english        

Advanced search

Skip to menu

Remarks by Minister Petříček to the Diplomatic Corps
Photo: MZV ČR
Article notification Print Decrease font size Increase font size

Remarks by Minister Petříček to the Diplomatic Corps


October 24, 2018, Prague

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and a privilege to welcome you to the Czernin Palace on the occasion of the beginning of my tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Czech Republic has had a new government for nearly a quarter of a year. With my appointment, the team is now at full strength.

Let me assure you, dear colleagues that the basic tenets of Czech foreign policy – known to you via the Foreign Policy Concept – remain in place. Our Foreign policy will feature under the umbrella of 3 clear principles: continuity, coherence, and consensus. It will continue to be anchored in the Euro-Atlantic community of values, namely democracy, human rights, rule of law, freedom, solidarity, cooperation and accountability. It will actively pursue the interests of the Czech Republic based on these values.

Overall, I’m planning to pursue work on reaffirming our active and constructive position in the EU and the broad Transatlantic Area. My general priorities include cultivating relations with our neighbours and “neighbours of the neighbours”. I will also seek to develop opportunities for more cooperation in the area of support to civil society, free media and development cooperation. In this context, it is key to make good use of what we consider important Czech added value: democratic transition experience. It remains highly relevant for our bilateral as well as multilateral foreign policy outreach.

Dear colleagues, I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to briefly highlight some of the priorities what we are going to focus on in the upcoming year.

First and foremost, we will be active members of the EU. The EU is more than just a political organization. It is where we are at home. In the discussions on our common future, we need to speak in an articulate voice and make sure we safeguard our unity at 28, later 27.

In addition, we will pay special attention to the Multiannual Financial Framework and the envelope dedicated to the new global instrument for external action. We remain to be committed to supporting EU´s reinforced defence policy. It is being developed hand in hand with the Alliance. In this regard, we have joined the Permanent Structured Co-operation, including several of its flagship projects. Last but not least, 2019 will be crucial in shaping close relations with the UK mainly in external relations, security and defence.

At the heart of our vision of the global order is the belief in multilateral system. The system, with the UN at its core, is not perfect but it represents the best guarantee of peace and security in the modern world. But in order to deliver, the UN needs to be strong and effective. We actively contribute to such “effective multilateralism” including through presidencies, such as our Presidency in the UN Economic and Social Council, which ended this July, or in the Executive body of Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which we have just assumed.

In this regard, I can proudly say that we have already succeeded in our candidacy for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for 2019-2021, which was the task we set out for this autumn. This is part of our resolve to develop a traditional pillar of Czech foreign policy – promotion of human rights. Let me take the opportunity to thank all of you who extended their support to us during the vote in the UN General Assembly this autumn.

Europe cannot be safe unless our neighbourhood is safe. An indispensable component of our security policy, in line with the EU Global Strategy, rests in enhancing the resilience of states and societies, both within the EU as well as within partner countries – to the East as well as to the South. Consequently, our endeavours will focus in particular on support to the Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership, as well as select countries in Africa and the Middle East.

When speaking of resilience, one must not forget migration. Czech diplomacy will do its utmost to alleviate the current migration crises by lending a helping hand to the source and transition countries, be it through the EU Trust Funds or through bilateral projects with either Italy or other partners. The Czech Development Agency will play its important part here.

We have learnt our lessons from hybrid threats and disinformation. In response, we will build on our efforts to reinforce strategic communication in its broad sense. Strategic communication does not only entail reaction to disinformation, but primarily it deals with positive messaging. Anniversaries are one such occasion and the year 2019 will be marked by several major events of this kind. We will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Velvet revolution, 20th anniversary of Czech accession to NATO and 15 years from the accession to the EU. All this falls under the public diplomacy chapter, which belongs to my priorities.

On a related note: the Czech Republic is one of the most export-oriented countries within the EU. Our integration into global trade and investment drives our economy; it brings jobs, wage growth and wider prosperity. We are planning to consolidate Czech economic diplomacy into a modern and flexible instrument to help Czech entrepreneurs and their partners develop trade and investments.

Ladies and gentlemen let me conclude by expressing my confidence that the Czech Republic will deliver: on our responsibilities to citizens and on our commitments to partners. Having said that, I´m happy to begin fruitful discussions over a glass of wine right now.

Let me toast on our upcoming friendly and constructive cooperation. Thank you for coming.