English Pages, 28. 1. 2024
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests, dear Friends,
It is an honour to be with all of you here today and an even greater honour to have the privilege to greet you at the very beginning of our this year’s Congress. I suppose I am not the only one here who takes coming to Vienna and to Hotel Imperial in the last weekend of January as a constant of my life, as a fixed point in my life program. In the turbulent world of today, we are losing one constant after another, but this one stays – much to my delight – unchanged.
It is mostly due to the energy, diligence, stubbornness and, of course, efficiency of our friend David Ungar-Klein, who keeps the wheels rolling, who is never tired, who is never pessimistic, who is never distracted from his lifelong mission to make the world a better place, to make it great again.
Year after year, we return to Vienna to get a new injection of energy and hope and to receive new arguments so much needed for the never-ending disputes about what to do with the not very joyful world of today.
We, who try to see the light at the end of the tunnel, must sadly say that the world between the 20th and the 21st Congress has not changed for the better. On the contrary, a new destabilizing hotspot – Israel, Gaza and Palestine – has become even hotter than in the past. I hope we will have time to discuss here – today and tomorrow – the Israel-Arab conflict which has a very dangerous potential for the whole world.
I will stop now. This is a moment for short welcoming comments, not for a speech. Let me mention the title of this year’s Congress. David is ambitious and feels powerful. His selection of the title “Move forward, Future” suggests that he is in command of the future, because he allows himself to tell the future to move forward. I am more modest, I only wish you very successful and productive days here in Vienna and in this beautiful hotel.
Václav Klaus, 21st Vienna Congress 2024, Vienna, Hotel Imperial, January 28, 2024
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