“On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the independence of the Czech Republic, I have decided to invite to dinner all those who have held the office of Prime Minister of the Czech Republic since January 1, 1993. Although many of us have been political rivals of each other, we have different opinions on many issues, and I wish that it would be good for us all to come together in such festive moments,” Fiala said, noting that discussing specific topics was not on the agenda.
According to Fiala, the meeting was held to show that the common interest of the Czech Republic stands beyond political rivalries and disputes, apart from marking thirty years since the founding of the independent Czech Republic. “In such a solemn moment we are able to sit at the same table and talk. I think it is already worth it,” he said.
Former Prime Minister Jiri Ruznok noted during his visit that he had not seen his colleagues for a very long time. “Despite all the political fights and differences, at the end of the day, I think everyone cares about our country,” he said.
From its creation in early 1993 to the present, the Czech Republic has had sixteen Cabinets. Fiala was the thirteenth Prime Minister. According to the government office, the first official prime minister, Józef Doszowski, and former Social Democratic prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka apologized for the event. Stanislav Kras (ČSSD) died seven years ago.
Heger came to Rudolfinum
Another highlight of Monday’s celebrations was a concert at the Rudolfinum in Prague. Besides Fiala, his Slovak counterpart Eduard Heger came to hear Czech composer Antonin Dvořák’s New World Symphony. “Thirty years after the separation of the common state, this shows well how close, friendly and extraordinary relations remain between the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic,” the Prime Minister pointed out before the event.
“By working together with our Slovak friends, we were able to preserve everything that worked in the common state,” Fiala said in his opening speech. He appreciated that the Czech Republic and Slovakia help each other, for example in the North Atlantic Alliance, where they take advantage of their good understanding of each other. According to the Prime Minister, even people who did not experience the former confederation of the two independent countries feel an extraordinary closeness to Slovakia. According to Fiala, this approach should also be developed in the future.
According to Fiala, the Czech Republic is stronger, richer, more educated and more experienced than when it broke up into a common state of Czechs and Slovaks in 1993. “We have something to celebrate, something to be proud of together,” he added.
In thirty years, according to Fiala, the standard of living has increased significantly. “Civil society in the Czech Republic has also strengthened significantly, it has been able to overcome all crises and always help those in need,” praised Fiala. “We are part of the European family, we are a full member of the Western democratic community, and we have proven to be a successful president of the Council of the European Union,” he added.
“We understand very well that together we are stronger,” Heger said. According to him, the Czech Republic and Slovakia maintain brotherly relations, with linguistic and cultural closeness and strong family ties between the two countries. “We each had our own journey. However, it was a common path of democracy, freedom, mutual respect and support that makes me very happy,” Heger said.
Czech ministers also participate in the concert. Among the former prime ministers, Vladimir Spitla, Jiri Barubek, Mirek Tobolanek, Jiri Ruznok, John Fischer and Andrzej Babis gathered in the audience. Representatives of both parliamentary chambers, Miloš Vystrčil (ODS) and Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09), and former First Lady Dagmar Havlová were also seated in the audience. Many ambassadors also accepted the invitation. President Miloš Zeman did not come.
Under the baton of its chief conductor Semjon Byčkov, the Czech Philharmonic also played the composer’s prelude Karneval before Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony from the New World. The Czech and Slovak national anthems were played at the beginning of the program.
The Czech Republic was established on January 1, 1993 after the separation of the common state of Czechs and Slovaks. According to Fiala, the split was inevitable. “This situation led the two countries to go their separate ways. What has been achieved, and what we should be proud of, is not a given, but what we should realize is that the partition was peaceful, calm, and without bitterness. “Ultimately this has led to extraordinary relations between our two countries and communities,” Fiala said.