Text and photos: Juan David Latorre.
The Embassy of the Czech Republic celebrated its National Day on Tuesday at the residence of Ambassador Ivan Jancárek, in front of a large audience.
The Czech ambassador began his speech by referring to the Covid pandemic: “The last 18 months have been among the most complex in modern history,” he said. We have had to deal with an insidious pandemic that has not ended, but thanks to our joint efforts and vaccination, it has reached a stage where, although we are cautious, we are now approaching a situation of normality. He also paid tribute to the victims of Covid and thanked the doctors, nurses, hospital staff, representatives of SAMUR and the military, among others.
Referring to the European Commission’s agreement on the single Covid passport, he said that “de facto it allowed a return to normality at the borders. With this step we have achieved uninterrupted travel around the world. It is our victory, of the EU Member States, including the Czech Republic and Spain, that the European Union is not only one of the most vaccinated regions in the world, but also one of the biggest donors of vaccines thanks to our common policy”.
“Life goes on,” Ambassador Jancárek continued, “and that is why we now have to face the economic recovery. All EU Member States are currently considering how best to use the additional resources we have jointly agreed under the New Generation recovery fund. It depends on our ability to implement these projects if we are to overcome the current economic lag and return to the forefront of labour productivity growth and global GDP growth in general. We must find additional resources to devote to pensions, social security, hospital care and education. I believe that it is impossible to live indefinitely on debt, so we must make a major effort to ensure that the post-pandemic economic recovery is carried out properly and effectively”.
“Czech-Spanish bilateral relations are in an excellent state. We are allies, friends and members of the European family. The long-planned trip of the Spanish Foreign Minister to the Czech Republic already had to be postponed twice this year for epidemiological reasons; the drop in business volume between the two countries, which decreased by more than 20%, has partially increased at the end of August. However, we will not be able to recover until 2022 the level of bilateral trade reached in 2019, when our turnover amounted to €8.4 billion. For the time being we have to work to have for example a daily connecting flight between Madrid and Prague”.
The ambassador referred to the upcoming elections in his country, which will take place in 10 days, as an “intense, but open, free and democratic process. The Czech Republic will hold the presidency of the EU Council in 2022, he concluded. It will be the second time we will hold it and I believe that we will contribute to strengthening the integrity of the European Union and its position in the world. We consider it extremely important to deepen the functioning and integrity of the single internal market and at the same time to do our utmost to ensure that the European Union is ready for enlargement, especially towards the countries of the Western Balkans”.
The event was attended by the ambassadors of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Lithuania, Austria, Bulgaria, Ireland, Malta, Slovenia and Slovakia, among others, as well as the President of the Constitutional Court, Juan José González Rivas, the Director General for Europe, Raquel Gómez-Cambronero; and the Executive Vice-President of the Alternativas Foundation, Diego López Garrido, as well as representatives from Moravia, led by the region’s vice-president, Lukáš Dubec, who offered their typical dishes to the guests.