Confident Czech Republic in a strong Europe

Fourteen leaders of Czech businesses and non-governmental organizations, including the OSF Prague Executive Director Robert Basch, today called the Czech government and Parliament to "do everything they can to ensure that the Czech Republic remains in the core of the European Union." In an open letter published by the main Czech media, they reacted to the recent tendencies of Czech politicians to distance themselves from the European financial crisis and move the country to the European periphery.

The signatories reminded that the "Czech EU membership is apparently and without much exaggeration the best thing that happened" to the Czech Republic in the last decade and called the government to use more constructive and confident voice and embrace the new opportunities that arise from membership.

 

Read the full statement here:

Confident Czech Republic in a strong Europe

Manifesto of Czech business and NGO representatives

 

Growth and higher quality of life – tremendous changes for the better that we have gone through were largely due to our direction towards the European Union. The Czech EU membership is apparently and without much exaggeration the best thing that happened to our country in the last decade.

We have become part of a community with whom we share the same values of freedom, law and vision of the State that does not seek to govern its citizens but tries to enhance their common well-being. The proximity to the united Europe has helped us to push through important reforms of business, justice or public administration even before joining the EU. We may not like all the important decisions about our continent as well as all the changes that come as their outcome. But the Czech Republic is able to fully participate in the decision making process. Certainly, we play only the role that corresponds to our size and importance. However, our voice is still influential, if it is thoughtful, constructive and confident.

The Union guarantees us, as well as all its Member States, larger security and - in a good sense - it looks after good relations with our neighbors. It is not a small issue in a world in which the long existing distribution of economic and political power is now being transformed. Also, it is not a small issue for Europe which has been capable of depleting itself in unreasonable disputes and conflicts so many times. On the contrary, it is essential for our future.

The Czech EU membership has its practical benefits that most of us experience in everyday life. The Union has opened a large trade market for our enterprises. The Czech pro-export oriented economy has grown rapidly due to that fact during the last decade. The EU funds have got their problems. However, in those areas where we were able to manage them effectively, the EU funds helped us to repair our schools or squares, reanimate our villages, support our businesses, create new jobs, and build better transportation or clean rivers. Today, we are able to enjoy free traveling across the continent only with an identity card and without any border controls. We are allowed to live and work within other EU Member States without any barriers. We have become - not only as a country but also as the citizens – a real part of western democratic Europe.

We want to continue to benefit from these advantages – and we want to embrace the new opportunities that arise from membership in a strong and successful European Union also in the future. If we are willing to maintain basic security and prosperity for ourselves, then it lies in the core of Europe more than ever.

Same as in life, we cannot expect that everything will always work smoothly. By the combination of European and global causes our economy doesn´t work as well as usual, people are losing their jobs and many countries are fighting with their debts. European countries are together trying to find a common solution to overcome the crisis. If we want to act as a fair member of the community, we should be reliable even during uneasy moments. Otherwise we will lose the most important thing in every healthy relationship – mutual trust.

It would be twice the mistake, if we aimed for a different direction during the hard times than is the direction of our neighbors and the neighbors of our neighbors – if we would lose the opportunity to participate on key economic decisions, if we would end on the democratic periphery of Europe alone.

Therefore, we believe that the Czech Parliament and Czech Government will do everything they can to ensure that the Czech Republic remains in the core of the European Union.

 

Signatories:

Business

Jannis Samaras, CEO of Kofola

Constantin Kinský, Managing Partner of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

Libor Winkler, Chairman of Board of Directors of RSJ

Petr Kuchař, Co-Founder of ABRA Software

Monika Ladmanová, Lawyer

Ondřej Jonáš, Investment Banker

Petr Vyroubal, Lawyer

 

Non-governmental organizations

Šimon Pánek, Executive Director of People in Need

David Ondráčka, Executive Director of Transparency International Czech Republic

Vojtěch Kotecký, Program Director of Hnutí Duha (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic)

Robert Basch, Executive Director of Open Society Fund Prague

Jana Smiggels-Kavková, Executive Director of Forum 50%

Marta Smolíková, Executive Director of ProCulture

David Král, Executive Director of EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy