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Ministr zahraničních věcí Martin Stropnický
Photo: © Markéta Trnková (MZV/MFA)
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Minister Stropnicky's Opening Remarks at the Conference „The Role of the United States in European Security Architecture – 100 Years After“


Prague, October 27, 2018

Mr Speaker, Excellency, Mr President of the Senate, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to welcome Speaker Ryan to Prague. It is a double pleasure to welcome him on the centennial of independent Czech statehood. Czechoslovakia began as a fragile experiment. But it has survived – in spirit and in purpose – if not in its original form of union of Czechs and Slovaks. After 1989, we managed to restore our proper place in the transatlantic family. Neither our independence, nor our accession to NATO would have been possible without American endorsement. In celebrating 100 years of modern Czech statehood, we celebrate our common achievements.

The crises of the last decade have highlighted deep division within our societies. Across the western world, there is now less belief in progress. Moreover, we have seen the rise of international challengers to the liberal order.

From this follow our common tasks: to restore the confidence of our citizens and guarantee peace, prosperity and justice. In order to succeed, it is in the interest of Americans and Europeans to join forces. In a more complex, connected and contested world – to use the verdict of the EU’s Global Strategy – we need to uphold an arrangement which makes the world safer and more predictable.

The alliance between Europe and the United States is not just a reflection of converging interests. It is an expression of shared values. The vision we are defending is a co-operative model where disagreements are settled according to an agreed rule-book. In this sense, we need to remain global trend-setters.

The United States is the only power capable of defending this vision globally. As such, it is a cornerstone of credible Western security architecture. Nonetheless, we are aware that important choices and tough decisions lie ahead of European partners, including ourselves, to give credibility to our own commitment.

As NATO members, but also as part of the European Union, we are taking steps to strengthen European security and defence. We know that fairer burden-sharing within NATO is essential. To this end, we will honour our pledge to increase defence spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2024 – a commitment I made as Minister of Defence to Secretary Mattis last year in Washington.   

We will also contribute to transatlantic security by developing capacities at the European level. In the current strategic environment, one message is crucial: it is a fundamental principle for European Union initiatives to remain complementary to our Atlantic engagement.

On both sides of the Atlantic, we face similar challenges. Unique American and European expertise will be needed to respond to the terrorist threat, to improve cybersecurity, to counter hybrid warfare or to assist our partners in building their capacities.

I look forward to this afternoon’s conference. I hope that it will underscore one thing – that there is a straight-forward answer to its main question: The role of the United States in European security architecture remains central and irreplaceable.

Thank you.