The past as an incentive to shape the future
Foreign Ministers Westerwelle and Schwarzenberg
© dpa / picture alliance
Twenty years ago, the German-Czechoslovak Good-Neighbourliness Treaty was signed. Foreign Minister Westerwelle was in Prague on 6 March to celebrate this watershed in European history. During a ceremony in the Prague Senate, Westerwelle stated that the Treaty had marked the beginning of a happy chapter in the shared history of the two countries. This chapter was about new trust emerging between our two peoples and a divided Europe growing together, he went on to say.
Moreover, Foreign Minister Westerwelle expressed his thanks for the Czech contribution to German reunification. “Without the courageous actions of the Czech people, German reunification as it came about would hardly have been possible,” he said.
The Good-Neighbourliness Treaty was signed on 27 February 1992 in Prague by the then Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Vaclav Havel. In that Treaty, both countries committed themselves to good-neighbourliness, peaceful relations and close cooperation. The Czech Republic emerged in 1993 as a successor state to Czechoslovakia.
History as an incentive to shape a shared future
Kohl and Havel signing the Good-Neighbourliness Treaty on 27 February 1992.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle recalled that German-Czech relations had been conflict-laden for centuries. We have not forgotten the past, Westerwelle said, but “it no longer divides us”.
Rather, he elaborated, it spurred us on to greater joint effort in building a better future.
The growing together of our societies was due to the dedication of many people, Westerwelle said. He pointed out that the German and Czech Governments supported this development through the German-Czech Future Fund launched in 1997.
The German-Czech Future Fund is a Prague-based foundation. It promotes non-profit exchange projects in the fields of youth exchange, culture, education, minorities, dialogue forums and publications.
New confidence in the European project
In the Prague Senate Chamber
Foreign Minister Westerwelle also addressed the current debt crisis in Europe and called for a committed effort to allay doubts about the European idea. “In order to inspire new confidence in the European project, we need to overcome the debt crisis,” he said.
The right direction was one of “solidarity, stability and growth”, he said, adding that the fiscal compact formed the basis of a new culture of budgetary stability in Europe. In this context he again invited the Czech Republic, which has not yet signed the compact, to join Germany on the road towards a stability union.
- Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Good-Neighbourliness between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic Senate, Prague, 6 March 2012
Last updated 06.03.2012