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The Czech Republic Celebrated 20 Years of NATO Membership

Together with Poland and Hungary, the Czech Republic joined NATO on March 12, 1999. The admission of three former Eastern Bloc countries to the Alliance confirmed the definitive end of the Cold War in Europe. It signaled further waves of NATO enlargement that brought stability, and for new members a freedom for their own social and economic development leading towards European integration.

Exactly twenty years after the Czech flag was first flown at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, constitutional officials and members of the government and other important domestic and foreign guests gathered in Prague to commemorate the historic moment.

At the Prague Castle, celebration started with the conference “Our security cannot be taken for granted.” President Miloš Zeman, President of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera, President of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš spoke at the ceremony, followed by the speeches of the Presidents of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, and NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček and Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar spoke at the ministerial panel. Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former NATO Secretary General George Robertson participated in the conference, as well.

A gala evening was then held at the Czernin Palace, the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Here Minister Petříček awarded medals for merit in diplomacy to 14 prominent personalities who were instrumental for accession of the Czech Republic to NATO.

“The Czech Republic is now one of the safest countries in the world. Also because we became NATO member 20 years ago. Only 10 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Central Europe was able to integrate itself into the most successful defense alliance of modern history,” said Minister Petříček in his speech.

Not just political leaders participated in the celebrations. The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic organized a show of military hardware at Hradčanské Square in Prague, and in cooperation with Czech Television presented the activities of the 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav and the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade in Žatec. Citizens of the City of Prague were informed about the celebrations via the radio of metro stations and flags decorating the public transport vehicles.


Oslava výročí 20 let České republiky v NATO