Twenty-five years ago today, Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Prime Minister Václav Klaus signed the German-Czech Declaration on Mutual Relations and their Future Development in Prague. The Declaration had a twofold focus: firstly, overcoming the burdens stemming from the two countries’ shared past and secondly, gearing our relations to the future.
The Declaration is a cornerstone of relations between Germany and the Czech Republic. It created key instruments which helped transform neighbours into friends: the German-Czech Future Fund and the German-Czech Discussion Forum, both of which made and continue to make an important contribution towards deepening mutual trust.
In this Declaration, Germany and the Czech Republic were able to place their relations, which were of unprecedented closeness but had also been very difficult at times, on a new footing. Since 1997, we have made progress which seemed almost unattainable back then. We are close partners in the EU and in NATO; we are part of the European and transatlantic community of values. Reluctant neighbours have become friends. Today, German-Czech relations are better than they have ever been.
The Declaration created respect and trust between our countries. Today, we not only want to commemorate this legacy of German-Czech relations but also express our pleasure that our example has been an inspiration for others.
More and more frequently, we are confronted around the world with new challenges in spheres such as energy and climate, the COVID-19 pandemic, migration or issues relating to our collective security. It is becoming increasingly complicated to find solutions. Therefore, it is all the more important that these solutions be sought in a spirit of mutual respect and trust.
That is one of the reasons why we are proud and thankful to be commemorating the German-Czech Declaration on Mutual Relations today. Together we are determined to keep on developing our good-neighbourly relations and friendship, for a united Europe in a peaceful world.