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Photo: Oldřich Škácha
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Karel Schwarzenberg passed away

Karel Schwarzenberg served as Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2007-2009 and 2010-2013.

His Higness Karel Schwarzenberg was the one who clearly showed what it means to be part of the West. He was twice Czechia‘s Minister of Foreign Affairs, but he worked for his country all his life, even when his family was in exile and he could not be sure that he would ever be able to return.

He could talk engagingly for hours about foreign policy, international relations and our values and cultural roots in Europe and the West, and he also worked tirelessly to make Czechoslovakia a free and democratic country again. After the division of Czechoslovakia, he lived out the principle of Masaryk's small-scale work for the betterment of our country every day, in whatever capacity or as a private person. Like the first president of independent Czechoslovakia and the first president of free Czechoslovakia, he hated idle talk, and one of his most frequent reactions to discussions about the evils and injustices of the world was: "Well, what are we going to do about it?

He knew how incomprehensible and fragile our freedom and democracy were, as well as the position of the Czech Republic in Europe and the world. He knew how important it is for us to have good relations with our neighbours and that NATO and the European Union will not guarantee our security and prosperity unless we do something today and every day for the security and prosperity of the Czech Republic and our allies. He knew that we must defend ourselves courageously against the wishes of various despotisms and other undemocratic countries that want to destroy our freedom and our will to defend it. He knew the importance of supporting human rights and those who are denied them around the world.

With all this, he inspired at least two generations of Czech diplomats, and together with his infinite kindness, insight, elegance and sense of humour, Karel Schwarzenberg will be with us for many years to come.

Honour his memory!