Dear readers and friends,
The 28th October is a date, when the Czech Republic celebrates its national holiday. This year marks 97 years since the establishment of the first independent Czechoslovak Republic on October 28, 1918. Thus allow me to use this opportunity to write a few words, particularly regarding the relations between Romania and the Czech Republic.
Very soon after the establishment of Czechoslovakia, the mutual diplomatic relations between our countries were also established. With regards to the modern history of the 20th century, I would like to emphasize the following four milestones that reveal much about our mutual relations.
In 1921 the Little Entente was founded, forming an alliance between Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia. During this period the Czechoslovak-Romanian political, economic and military relations were on an excellent level.
Between 1938 and 1939, when the Nazi Germany destroyed Czechoslovakia, Romania was the only neighbouring state that did not have any territorial claims against the disintegrating Czechoslovakia.
Between 1944 and 1945, the soldiers of the Romanian Royal Army participated in the liberation of Czechoslovakia from the Nazi rule. I think it is important to emphasize that the Romanian army was the second largest army, right after the Red Army, that liberated Czechoslovakia during World War II. Many young Romanian men also gave their lives for the liberation and they deserve, that we dedicate them a silent memory, especially in today’s troubled times.
Last but not least, it was Romania who in 1968 refused to participate in the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the troops of the Warsaw Pact under the command of the Soviet Union.
I talked about Czechoslovakia because after the peaceful division in 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia became the successor countries of Czechoslovakia, and I consider the common Czechoslovak history to be our own history.
Current Czech-Romanian relations are predetermined by the fact that both countries are members of such organizations such as the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Bilateral relations between Czechia and Romania are very intensive both in the political and the economic and cultural fields. There are no open bilateral political questions. Economically, there is a very positive trend, because both the presence of Czech companies here and also the volume of trade between our countries are rising. We have more than 800 Czech companies in Romania.
Both countries stress their interest in the continuation of intensive dynamics in bilateral political dialogue, including high-ranked bilateral visits, as well as in further development of trade exchange and exploitation of existing investment potential of the two countries. Bilateral cooperation of our countries in the international arena on regional, European and security issues is also quite extensive.
We had some very important bilateral political visits this year. Among them, who visited Romania, were the Czech State Secretary for European Affairs, the Committee on Social Policy of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, the Viceminister of Agriculture, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament. Before the end of this year we still expect the visit of the Committee on Public Administration and Regional Development of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament and there is an invitation to the meeting of Heads of State of NATO members from Central and Eastern Europe to Bucharest scheduled to take place this November.
So far, from Romania there have been more than five ministers or state secretaries visiting the Czech Republic in 2015, among them a visit of the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of Romania.
Apart from the state leaders, there are intensive contacts and visits between the representatives of the political parties of both countries.
It is safe to say that the visits between entrepreneurs, businessmen and investors are taking place on a daily basis. There are also people from the fields of education, culture and arts, sports. I could name many other areas, which indicates a very high level of relations between our countries. Among these areas we may include exchanges of students and young people. And last but not least, there is a high level of mutual tourism between our countries.
As I mentioned earlier, it is precisely the mutual visits of people from various areas as well as our citizens mutually getting to know our countries, that attests to the best relations between our countries and nations. Not only between the top officials, but also between the ordinary people of the two nations.
I have met many people during my business as well as private trips in Romania. Both in large cities and villages. One of the greatest surprises for me was the fact that I meet people who know and also have visited the former Czechoslovakia or the present Czech Republic, whether Prague or some different places. They also know Czech brands such as beers Pilsner Urquell and Staropramen, or the cars Škoda, and they recognize very well that those are Czech brands and what is more, they consider them symbols of high quality.
What more could we ask for? Perhaps only that these contacts, these relations continue to develop to the benefit of both countries and their people and that we continue to get to know and help each other. Both at the state and political level, and the professional and civil level. Only such excellent and frequent contacts will guarantee the continuation of our outstanding relations.
Finally, I would like to invite you to visit the Czech Republic. Lovers of history, architecture, culture, arts, sports, nature and various leisure activities will certainly find plenty of enjoyment.
Thank you for your attention and I look forward to seeing you either in the Czech Republic or at some of the events organized by the Czech Embassy in Bucharest .