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Speech given by President Václav Klaus on the occasion of the state visit of the Republic of Finland

English Pages, 2. 6. 2005

Dear Madam President, Dear Mr Arajärvi, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me express my thanks for the invitation to visit your country with which we are connected through many positive and productive, both historic and contemporary, ties.

The Finns and the Czechs reached their independence practically at the same time, and for both of them keeping it has not been easy. Finland succeeded in defending its democracy and its free society in spite of its proximity to a communist superpower. Our country, however, had fallen into the communist trap. Fifteen years ago, after the collapse of communism, both countries had to undertake many changes and to go through the difficult period of transformation and adjustment, but the Czech Republic had to undergo a complete systemic change. This was a tremendous task.

We may say that we have both managed to go through this complicated procedure successfuly. Finland has become one of the most developed modern economies. It is globally competitive, even in the field of advanced technologies. It is a country with one of the highest living standards and quality of life in the world. The Czech Republic is a stable, democratic, rapidly growing country, which has successfuly returned to the family of mature European democracies, where it historically belonged. Our new membership in the European Union is another confirmation of these achievements. We take our membership in the EU for granted and cannot imagine not participating in the European integration process.

The future of the European Union represents a great challenge for Europe and for both our countries. We cannot stay indifferent to the fact that decisions about our lives are moving into the hands of unelected European authorities. We cannot stay indifferent to the increasing democratic deficit in the EU, to the artificial acceleration of the unification process, to the progressing bureaucratization and regulation of all spheres of life. Such tendencies represent a serious danger for the future of the European integration as well as for the relations between European nations. I am convinced that our countries – with our historical experience and traditions – have something to say about this.

Dear Madam President, we can describe relations between our two countries as problem-free. Trade and investments as well as cultural exchanges and interpersonal contacts are increasing. Finland is for us a country of immense natural beauty, a country of Sibelius’s music or Waltari’s novels, a country of our first-rate rivals in ice-hockey, a country symbolized by the Nokia company, without whose mobile telephones I, myself, cannot imagine my working day. Finland will always be a friendly country for me and for my fellow citizens. We want to develop the closest possible relations with you.

Allow me, Dear Madam President, to make a toast to the future of our relations, to friendship and happy life for the citizens of your country, and to the good health of yourself and your relatives.

Vaclav Klaus, Helsinki, Finland, 2.6.2005


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