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February 26, 2021

A new era of the traditional alliance between our two nation

By     H.E. Jiri Sitler, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Bucharest
This year, we decided to organize our National Day event one month earlier than on the usual October 28 (Independence Day). We celebrate the feast of St. Wenceslas (Václav), the day of the patron-saint of the Czech nation since the 10th century AD. We do it out of respect for the Czech minority in Romania, which honours – as many other ethnic Czechs worldwide do – September 28 as the day of their language and traditions. As the Czech Statehood Day, it´s also one of the official holidays in the Czech Republic, and last but not least, it´s also the Day of the Czech Beer.
For Romanians, Czechs, and other citizens of Central and eastern European states alike, there is another common reason to celebrate this year – 25 years of freedom. In 1989, the Iron Curtain was dismantled and we all entered the path towards democracy and our EU and NATO membership. That is why we invited the band Plastic People of the Universe to perform at the National Day event in the Bragadiru Palace on September 25. The Plastic People of the Universe is the foremost representative of Prague´s underground culture (1968-1989). This legendary avant-garde group went against the grain of the Communist regime and due to its non-conformism often suffered serious problems as arrests. It was in protest of these arrests and prosecution when playwright Václav Havel and others decided to write the Charter 77. At President Havel ´s suggestion, the band reunited in 1997 in honour of the 20th anniversary of Charter 77, and performed regularly since then. Now, 25 years after the Velvet Revolution, they came to Romania.
20 years ago, by signing the Agreement on Friendly Relations and Cooperation, the democratically elected representations of the Czech Republic and Romania started a new era of the traditional alliance between our two nations.  We are close partners in both EU and NATO, and our also our economic and cultural links are very strong. We had some important political visits this year, including an informal visit by the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to a regional meeting of prime ministers in the Danube Delta on 21-22 June, and the official visit of the President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman who came to Romania accompanied by an extensive business delegation on 20-22 May. The Czech companies feel welcome in Romania – almost 700 our companies operate in the country, and most of them proved to be good examples of responsible investment. However, there is still potential for more investment, if the conditions are right and the current investors are treated fairly, and there is also a lot of space to increase the volume of trade over the current 2.5 billion EUR. Besides organizing business fora, we are also proud to organize events where culture meets economics: until September 30, the exhibition “Brilliant by Design” is on display at the Galateca Gallery in Bucharest. The exhibition presents designer glass and porcelain made by contemporary Czech companies. It aims to specifically emphasize the continuity of the tradition of the glass and porcelain production by selecting successful, timeless examples from the past 100 years.
We are looking into the future, but we can´t forget history. This year, we commemorate 100 years after the outbreak of the WW I, and 75 years after the outbreak of the WW II. Both sides aim for early conclusion of a bilateral agreement on military graves, as sacrifices of the Romanian soldiers helping to liberate Czechoslovakia in 1944-1945 as well as of the Czech volunteers fighting on the Romanian side in Dobrogea in 1916 deserve to be remembered. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Lubomír Zaorálek will visit Romania on October 6 – to forge and develop our economic and political relations, but also to honour the heroes of the past.

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