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Remarks with a Toast at the Government Luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister of Ireland

English Pages, 12. 11. 2008

Dear Mr. Prime Minister, Dear guests,

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to meet with you. I am really delighted to be in Ireland again – after more than 10 years. 

To return back, nineteen years ago (and we will celebrate this anniversary next week), communism in our country collapsed. To overcome its legacy, we had to make radical, not easy and not painless changes. We did them and today, I can proudly say that the Czech Republic is a stable, developed, politically and economically advanced country, which belongs to the family of mature European democracies. Our membership in the European Union is one of the confirmations of these achievements and we are grateful for the support we received from Ireland in this respect.

Mr. Prime Minister, I do believe we have common interest both in further enlargement of the European Union, and especially in making the EU open, functional and accountable to the citizens of the member states.

The bilateral relations between our two countries can be described as excellent and problem-free. We know that it was not a coincidence that Ireland was among the first EU countries to open its labour market for Czech citizens. It is another proof that your country has been long devoted to the true and meaningful European integration, to the idea of “Europe without barriers”, which is the slogan and priority of the Czech EU Presidency in the year 2009.

This slogan is simple, it may seem to be rather non-dramatic and non-ambitious, but the attention should be turned to the fact that our slogan is neither “an ever-closer Europe”, nor “the sooner the Lisbon Treaty, the better”, nor “the future is in a more centralistic Europe.”

Trade and investments between our two countries, as well as cultural exchanges and interpersonal contacts, have been increasing. More than fifty Irish companies invest in the Czech Republic, some Czech companies operate in Ireland and established their offices here. The Czech small town of Otročiněves formed a partnership with Irish Glendalough and I hope there will be more cases like this one. Many Czechs study, work and enjoy daily life in Ireland and some of your fellow citizens live and work in the Czech Republic. I should also like to mention that Irish students can study Czech language, history and literature here in Dublin and Czech students study Irish language and literature at the Charles University in Prague.

For us, Ireland is a country of immense natural beauty and of fascinating historical sights; it is a country of Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wild, G. B. Shaw, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett; a country that is proud of its traditions and respectful to them. 

We take Ireland as a friendly country and want to develop the closest possible relations with you. 

Allow me, Mr. Prime Minister, 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. 

Václav Klaus, Iveagh House, Dublin, Ireland,
10. November 2008


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