Monday, 3 August 2020

Czech-German relations considerably improving, ministers say

ČTK |
26 January 2017

Berlin, Jan 25 (CTK correspondent) - Czech-German relations considerably improved over the past 20 years and now they also help stabilise the space in the two countries' vicinity, the Czech and German foreign ministers, Lubomir Zaoralek and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said yesterday.
They met on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Czech-German declaration.
The declaration on Bilateral Relations and their Future Development, in which the two countries pledged not to burden bilateral relations with controversial issues from the past and focus on future cooperation instead, was signed in 1997 by former German chancellor Helmut Kohl (CDU) and Czech prime minister Vaclav Klaus (Civic Democratic Party, ODS).
It took 18 months for the difficult negotiations to be finished.
Germany mentioned its responsibility for the Nazi crimes and expressed regret at the suffering it caused to Czechs. The Czech Republic expressed regret at the wrongs innocent people had to suffer during the forced transfer of Sudeten Germans from the post-war Czechoslovakia.
Zaoralek was the last foreign guest to be received by Steinmeier in his current post. He is expected to become the new German president in February.
Those looking into history know how problematic Czech-German relations were in some respects in the past, Steinmeier said.
"Such people know the many good things that were successfully implemented in the past 20 years," Steinmeier said.
"I would like to stress that for me, it is really an affair whose importance crosses the bounds of Czech-German relations," Zaoralek said.
"The good 20 years of Czech-German relations perhaps also has an impact on the surrounding countries, stabilising the space around us," he added.
The signing of the declaration was a wise step, Zaoralek said.
"It is vital that we took a good step on the one hand and that we kept to it throughout the 20 years on the other," he added.
The two ministers signed a statement on the declaration yesterday.
They said the declaration was a major breakthrough in the two countries' relations, strongly burdened with the past before, and it freed a road to the open treatment of the past and a permanent intensification of the relations.
"Good Czech-German relations are vital because we should be able to challenge both old and new divisive lines in Europe," the statement said.
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