The German-Czech Declaration of 25 January 2017 was signed in the German and Czech languages. Below please find, for information purposes only, an English translation of the German text.
We, the Foreign Ministers of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech Republic, welcome the 20th anniversary of the German-Czech Declaration on Mutual Relations and their Future Development and declare the following as regards further strengthening the friendship and partnership between our two countries:
- The German-Czech Declaration signed in Prague on 21 January 1997 by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech Republic and approved by both the German Bundestag and the Parliament of the Czech Republic was the crucial breakthrough in the two countries’ relations, which had previously been significantly overshadowed by topics related to the past, and forms the foundation of our bilateral relations alongside the German-Czechoslovakian Treaty on Good Neighbourliness (1992). The declaration cleared the way for addressing the past openly and constantly intensifying our relations. It does not only form the basis for forging relations between Germany and Czechia in a shared Europe in a forward-looking way, but also the framework for a free exchange in a spirit of mutual trust on historical and future topics of common interest.
- The declaration created two instruments – the German-Czech Future Fund and the German-Czech Dialogue Forum – that have had a lasting positive impact on relations between Germany and Czechia. The work of two previously existing institutions – the German-Czech Youth Exchange Coordination Centre (Tandem) and the German-Czech Commission of Historians – is being strengthened. The Future Fund and Dialogue Forum are now so firmly established in society, particularly in the form of cross-border civic initiatives, that the importance of the Declaration goes far beyond that of a political document between two countries. It reflects the entire spectrum of societal relations.To mark this occasion, we do not only want to thank the authors of the Declaration, but also and above all our two countries’ societies, which took the opportunity to work actively and over the long term to develop our bilateral relations positively in the European context, and continue to take this opportunity every day. They enabled reconciliation and today’s very positive relations between us.
- The German-Czech Strategic Dialogue that we additionally founded in July 2015 now represents a third institutional pillar of German-Czech relations alongside the Future Fund and Dialogue Forum. It has expanded and invigorated relations and resulted in concrete new initiatives. Through mutual exchange between the various relevant ministries, the Strategic Dialogue enables Germany and Czechia to understand the common challenges in a better way and to react to them more effectively.
- Good relations based on trust and firmly rooted in our societies are particularly important, especially in view of the current numerous challenges for Europe that our countries must face together. A lack of trust was the cause of many crises that the European Union had to overcome in recent years. Mutual trust is the foundation for dependable solidarity and a forward-looking view of European challenges.
A solid societal and political relationship based on trust has developed thanks to many dedicated steps by both societies as well as symbolic gestures of reconciliation.
- The undertaking and responsibility underlined in the Declaration of 1997 to further develop German-Czech relations in the spirit of good neighbourliness and partnership, thus contributing to shaping European integration, is at least as important now as it was then. Good German-Czech relations are fundamental to addressing both old and new lines of division in Europe. Many of the current challenges are a task for Europe as a whole for which we need common European solutions. As partners and neighbours, we do not need to agree on everything, but we will always endeavour to reach mutually acceptable solutions as the outcome of our constructive cooperation. We are firmly committed to upholding the joint achievement of our good neighbourly relations and to continuing our support of and active work on their maintenance and intensification, particularly through the citizens of our two countries.
25 January 2017