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Notes for the Independence Day Speech 2009

English Pages, 2. 7. 2009

Madame Chargé d'affaires, dear American and Czech friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure and I am sure also the pleasure of many Czechs here today to join you in celebrating the 233rd Independence Day. All of us who have gathered here consider the relations between the Czech Republic and the United States very good, intensive and friendly. 

We enjoyed having President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle here in Prague on their first major trip abroad only two months after the inauguration. In his speech, President Obama outlined his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, but – at the same time – went far beyond the usual political rhetoric to reach the Czech people and to demonstrate how familiar he was with the Czech humor, history and culture. It was much appreciated. President Obama, whose hometown Chicago is known for a strong Czech community, is closer to us than it may seem at first glance. At least this is the impression I got after meeting him during his visit. 

The Czechs are well aware of the role the United States of America played on this continent throughout the 20th century and are hopeful that the 21st century will not see American presence in Europe diminishing. We do believe in a firm transatlantic link and in a strong alliance between Europe and the United States. 

The issue which bothers us both in Europe and America is the economic and financial crisis. It should not be underestimated or trivialized. It must, however, run its course. It is a curative process. It is an indispensable and irreplaceable liquidation of mistaken and therefore untenable economic activities. We must let it happen. Like all previous economic and financial crises also this one will sooner or later come to an end, but the new, sometimes rashly adopted measures, regulations, restrictions and taxes will be here to stay and will continue to have an impact in the years to come. We should be aware of that.

For the Czech Republic (and some of our neighboring countries) this year is in many respects symbolic. It is the year in which we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism, the 10th anniversary of our accession to NATO and the 5th anniversary of our EU-accession. It is the year in which we assumed the EU Presidency. All these events had a major significance for us. 

What is, however, most important is the future. I am optimistic. Our interim cabinet headed by Prime Minister Fischer will rule until the early parliamentary election in October. This special political arrangement does not have and will not have any negative impact upon the functioning of our country. Continuity will prevail. Our foreign policy will remain stable, foreseeable and transparent. I am convinced it will stay so also in the future – regardless of the election results. Dear American friends, we rely on your friendship and you can rely on ours. I wish all of you here and all the American people success, prosperity and peace.

Václav Klaus, U.S. Ambassador's Residence, 233rd Independence Day of the United States of America, Prague, July 2, 2009


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