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Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Visit of a reliable ally and friend

On 10th July 2007 Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic and Ms Klaus came to Poland with a state visit. Following the official welcome ceremony in the Presidential Palace President Kaczyński conferred upon President Klaus the Order of the White Eagle in recognition of eminent contribution to development of relations between the Republic of Poland and the Czech Republic.

During the ceremony President Kaczyński said:

”Poland has no higher award. It is the first order in Poland’s history. It may have appeared somewhat later than the British Order of the Bath, but even so it is over 300 years old. Bestowing this order upon President Vaclav Klaus I did this with the full conviction that it goes to a person to whom our country owes a lot. I can say that today our relations with the Czech Republic can only and exclusively be compared with relations with the Republic of Lithuania; there being some difference in size between the Republic of Lithuania, which we respect and with which we have many historical connections, and the Czech Republic. We especially appreciate the cooperation within the European Union, mutual loyalty in many matters, not always to come by. We must make it clear, that none of this would have happened without the participation of President Vaclav Klaus, whose position in the Czech Republic goes far beyond constitutional limits. This is further proof that the law naturally has great importance, but in politics personality matters even more; therefore once again my congratulations”.

Next, during a joint press conference, President Lech Kaczyński made a statement:

”I would like to express my great satisfaction at the visit in our country of President Vaclav Klaus. One could say this is the visit of a reliable ally and friend. A man with whom I have very similar views on many matters. I would describe relations between our countries as very good or even more than very good. It is, so to say, a breakthrough of sorts, however a reasonable one, because neither today nor looking back many centuries are there any reasons for tensions between Poland and Czech. On the other hand there is every reason to cooperate as closely as possible. Everything that had been spoiling our relations was purely irrational. Everything that we do is connected not only with the feeling of natural friendship between close nations – in ethnic terms too – but also with a reasoned, calm assessment of this world, of this European reality, in which we live. We are double allies in NATO as well as the European Union. A special relationship links us in both these organisations. In NATO there is the matter of the Missile Defence Shield; naturally it is a matter for the Czech Republic and the United States as well as for Poland and the United States. But it is difficult to separate it from NATO – this is the first matter and this links us very closely. In the European Union we are linked on the one hand by satisfaction with the benefits resulting from it, on the other hand by the aloof and calm approach to what is possible today and what is not as regards integration. Here I have in mind a calm, not nationalistic but patriotic sense of very big importance of sovereignty, the ability to take decisions in one’s own country. This is another matter, which connects us and this loyalty could be seen during the last summit of the European Union, which took a very dramatic turn. Anyone who knows the Union, even if only a little and President Klaus knows it better than I do – he is now longer in the presidential seat; before that for many years he had been Prime Minister – does know that the support of even quite a large country like Poland, however single-handed support, is a venture requiring considerable boldness and this was indeed the case. We are very happy about this.

Certainly in many other matters we will be supporting the Czech Republic in its interests. Each country has its interests, this is what it is all about – although the Union is a closely-knit union of states, these states remain such. We also spoke about bilateral relations. They are shaping-up well but in-depth exchange is called-for here. And I am not referring to trade exchange, which is natural, but also to cultural exchange where certainly progress could be made. After all the incredibly unique Czech culture, especially literature is very popular in our country and has great achievements to its credit. This literature happens to be known in Poland, however this cooperation could be extended considerably, improving mutual knowledge of our languages. I am not saying that the knowledge of the Polish language is widespread in the Czech Republic, but I think we certainly have even more to do as far as the knowledge of Czech in Poland is concerned. Also capital exchange. Our countries have crossed the Rubicon a long time ago, they are now market economies, countries of economic success; therefore expansion in both directions is natural and we think it should become deeper. Especially as our capital has opportunities in more-or-less the same parts of Europe and the world. Once again I want to thank for this visit. If fact it is only beginning now. Tomorrow we shall be spending one day together outside Warsaw; although rather for recreation, but we will talk about many matters. We are meeting this year for at least the fourth time now, there have been two informal visits – the President was in Poland, I was in Prague. Now the President is officially in Warsaw, I am certain to go to Czech Republic again this year. All this is the best proof that our relations are very close and good; that in this part of Europe there is circulation, exchange between leading politicians; an exchange of information, ideas, concepts, altogether strengthening our position in NATO as well as in the Union”.

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