Together in Europe – Foreign Minister Baerbock travels to the Czech Republic and Slovakia
Foreign Minister Baerbock travels to Prague, © picture alliance/KEYSTONE
Foreign Minister Baerbock is visiting Prague and Bratislava today. The focus of her visit is on Europe’s robust response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, solidarity in action with the people of Ukraine and close coordination for an even stronger European Union that is fit for the future.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will meet her Czech counterpart Jan Lipavský in Prague. After their meeting, they will visit the Lidice memorial together for the first time as a symbol of German-Czech reconciliation. On 10 June 1942, German troops committed a massacre there in the course of which not only the entire male population over the age of 15 was killed, but also the entire village of Lidice was destroyed. A pillar of German foreign policy is keeping alive the memory of the terrible crimes committed by German troops and under the German occupation during the World Wars.
Czech Presidency of the EU Council and joint work plan between Berlin and Prague
The visit to Prague will also focus on moving forward together in Europe. A few weeks ago, the Czech Republic assumed the Presidency of the EU Council on 1 July. Its motto is “Europe as a Task” and has a strong focus on the European response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The Presidency aims to safeguard the EU’s energy supply and to strengthen Europe’s defence capabilities and cyber security. Particular attention is attached to the reconstruction of Ukraine and support for refugees. Germany and the Czech Republic are pulling in the same direction on these issues.
As a sign of the close cooperation between Germany and the Czech Republic, Foreign Minister Baerbock and her Czech counterpart will also sign a work programme for 2022 to 2024. As part of this programme, both countries set themselves concrete goals, such as the promotion of Czech language teaching at schools and universities in Germany and the expansion of rail transport between the two countries. The establishment of a hydrogen-powered long-distance bus line from Dresden to Usti nad Labem and Prague is also planned.
Slovakia – solidarity in action with Ukraine: “We stand together”
Foreign Minister Baerbock will then travel on to Slovakia. As a neighbouring country, Slovakia is directly affected by the impacts of Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. The people of Slovakia are demonstrating European solidarity in action by offering immense support in accommodating and taking care of refugees.
The Foreign Minister will visit the Slovak integration initiative Sme Spolu, which translates as “we stand together”. The volunteers working for the initiative support minor Ukrainian refugees in Bratislava with great dedication. For example, they make it easier for them to feel at home in Slovakia with the help of art and cultural activities.
Foreign Minister Baerbock will also meet her Slovakian counterpart Ivan Korčok for talks. German-Slovak cooperation is close and conducted in a spirit of trust. The Ministers will therefore reach agreement on an action plan for 2022 to 2024 consisting of tangible joint projects, such as in education and science, climate and environmental protection, as well as in many other areas.