Joint Statement by Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (27 February 2017):
The Treaty on Good Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic of 27 February 1992 was a treaty between a peacefully reunited Germany and a Czechoslovakia which was peacefully dissolved just under a year later. Both developments, the peaceful reunification of one state and the peaceful dissolution of the other, were made possible by the firm anchor and the prospects provided by the European security architecture.
In 1992, Europe was in the process of using the political upheaval of 1989 with its peaceful revolutions for a pan‑European integration process. Even then, Europe provided the framework for new stability and mutual trust. It represented the freedom that is more than the absence of oppression and suffering. It represented freedom as an opportunity to lead a self-determined life and be the master of one’s own destiny.
Today, Europe looks different to how it did in 1992, but the promise of freedom remains. Our common goal is still to strengthen a Europe where human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the principles of democracy and the rule of law are respected, where borders lose their divisive character through mutual understanding and where they can also be overcome by eliminating economic and social differences.
Before the summit meeting marking the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, we, the Foreign Ministers of Czechia, Germany and Slovakia, reiterate this goal and acknowledge our responsibility to continue to drive forward the European integration process in the spirit of stability and mutual trust. We intend to continue to pursue this goal at bilateral, regional and EU level.
Our European Union is a peace and freedom project, a unique, peaceful alliance of European states. The Union serves as a framework for peaceful resolution of conflicts and has placed our relations with one another on a stable foundation.
The intensity of our mutual relations today confirms that, for all three countries, the decision at that time, anchored in the Treaty, paved the way for amicable cooperation. Since 1992, a wide range of contacts in the areas of politics, business and culture have breathed life into the Treaty. The trust that has developed between our countries allows us to jointly focus on and tackle current and future challenges. This close, future-oriented bilateral cooperation also supports the European integration process by creating stability and trust.
Our mutual economic relations, as just one example, have multiplied since the signing of the Treaty. The particularly close economic cooperation and interdependence between our three countries has helped to foster unity on our continent and to generate more prosperity and stability.
We regard the intensive pursuit and development of our bilateral relations – at both the political and the societal level – as a crucial component in intensifying cooperation within the European Union.
Yet the European Union is more than a single market and a monetary union. All member states share common values, such as the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression and human rights. Europe’s cultural diversity is an integral part of our identity. Respectful interaction is one of the cornerstones of our shared values.
For us, there can be only one response to the current challenges in the world: a jointly acting, strong, credible Europe. That is our one and only chance to actively influence the global order. No single European Member State is large, strong and powerful enough to hold its own in the globalised world of 2017. No country can deal with such challenges as climate change, terrorism and migration single-handedly.
We, the Foreign Ministers of Czechia, Germany and Slovakia, want to create this stronger and better Europe. In view of the dramatic impact of globalisation on national sovereignty, we want a Europe that preserves our ability to respond effectively. We regard the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union in 2012 as both an honour and an obligation. We want to cooperate more closely on the common foreign and security policy and work to promote peace and stability in Europe and throughout the world. In NATO, too, our countries are moving forward with innovative approaches.
We need European border management as a combination of national and EU efforts as well as a joint refugee and migration policy. We want a Europe with internal security capable of combating terrorism and organised crime.
We want a competitive Europe that invests in education and research as well as in our public infrastructure with a joint financial and economic policy. And we want a socially just Europe where people can live and work under fair conditions.