April 20, 2019

National day highlights Czechia as an engaged country of opportunities

By H.E. Jaroslav Kurfürst, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Belgium.

Czechia will celebrate another national independence day on 28 October as a self-confident country with broad network of friendly relations on a global level.

As an open economy focused on export of competitive goods, we are keen to build our partnerships around the globe. As a welcoming touristic destination, we are pleased to offer the beauties of our central European cultural and architectural heritage of Prague and other cities but also our picturesque countryside. As an international actor, we try to make the world a better place and build on Václav Havel’s ideas of responsibility for its future. As a knowledge-based society we keep the doors of our universities and scientific institutions open for foreign students and establishing international partnerships. As a country of rich cultural heritage, we want to fill in the “unbearable lightness of being” with ideas, creativity, fun and originality.

In all these areas and opportunities the countries of Benelux play an important role. As the Czech ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, I can witness remarkable dynamics between these two countries of similar population, strong historical affinities, similar mentality and sense of humor resulting in the wide network of personal, business as well as cultural connections.

Belgians were among the first and most successful investors coming to Czechia after the collapse of communism. They stayed and have prospered ever since. I believe there is a wide space for more cooperation especially in the innovative sector of the economy and research.


H.E. Jaroslav Kurfürst, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Belgium. Photography by Dagmar Kneřová.

After joining the EU we have dedicated an important share of our investment funding to the research infrastructures and capabilities which now start to function and deliver. This means that a new chapter is opening which brings new opportunities for Belgian and every other international partner. Czechia can offer unique industrial tradition, growing economic environment and favorable geography in the Heart of Europe.

Our historical odyssey generated a couple of dates which are taught in the international relations studies and not all of them have as positive connotations as the celebrated independence of 28 October 1918. Our common European history with many turmoils is just one of many reasons why we should cherish the cooperative spirit in Europe, our union of European democracies and the Atlantic alliance.

Czechia is engaged in a dialogue about the EU future – through the EU network, bilaterally with Belgium and other EU members, but also as a V4 – Benelux which lastly met at the level of foreign ministers in Prague during the Czech V4 presidency this June. Europe is our fortunate destiny and we should ensure its sustainability.

Protect it from populists who tend to caricature the project but, at the same time, bring it closer to its people. All the existing problems have solutions within our reach – through credible politics and realistic ambitions, smart cooperative diplomacy and daily work for citizens.

This was also the method of the founder of the independent Czechoslovakia Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk who stressed, that “the world stands on the little daily work”. It was valid for the recreation of our independence; it is valid for diplomacy in general


Photography by Dagmar Kneřová, Public Relations Officer at the Czech Republic Embassy in Brussels.

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