Tomáš Petřiček’s first trip abroad took him to Berlin. Petřiček was received by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas just three days after his appointment as Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs. Maas emphasised the following at their joint press conference:
It is important to me personally to seek an even closer dialogue with our partners in Eastern Europe than was the case in the past. Our European cohesion is an absolute priority for me at a time when old certainties are crumbling. We must heal the rifts that have clearly emerged in our Union in recent years – between North and South and West and East. The Czech Republic is one of our key partners in the heart of Europe in these efforts.
Maas added that the closeness of Germany’s partnership with the Czech Republic was reflected by the Strategic Dialogue between the two countries, which covered an impressive range of issues. Established in 2015, this dialogue comprises not only intensified intergovernmental contacts, but also exchanges between the countries’ parliaments, federal states and local authorities.
Common goals in Europe
In addition to bilateral issues, the Strategic Dialogue also has a European policy focus. Foreign Minister Maas had the following to say about this: “We agree that it is in Europe’s fundamental interests to assume greater responsibility for our security. Our two countries have supported Permanent Structured Cooperation, also known as PESCO, from the outset, and we are also working together closely both bilaterally and within the framework of NATO.” Moreover, Germany and the Czech Republic are engaged in a close dialogue on other European issues such as migration and neighbourhood policy. Heiko Maas underscored the fact that the Czech Republic was helping to build bridges between the West and the East. The German Foreign Minister is seeking to intensify the dialogue with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe with his new Ostpolitik.