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Diplomat: Czech-French partnership meaningful in culture, energy

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Prague, Sept 5 (CTK) – A document on strategic partnership between the Czech Republic and France, which is likely to be signed by both cabinets next year, will highlight the strong mutual bonds in culture and education or the possibilities for economic co-operation, particularly in the energy industry, Czech ambassador to France Petr Drulak told CTK on Tuesday.

Drulak said the recent activity of new French President Emmanuel Macron indicates that Paris is aware of the role of Central Europe in the EU and is ready to communicate with it.

“We have begun the preparation work on the document, which is to become mature for signing next year,” Drulak said about the preparation of an action plan of the Czech-French strategic partnership, in which Prague and Paris are to outline the areas where they intend to establish close co-operation in the years to come.

Aside from strategic matters, culture and the education system are some of the strongest themes to be reflected by the document. “As regards culture, we are much appreciated in France, because a number of Czech artists spent time in France, particularly in the 20th century,” Drulak added.

Drulak noted that the cultural and historical bond was still alive, citing as examples French language lessons in the Czech Republic, Czech sections in French grammar schools or a retrospective exhibition of Czech painter Frantisek Kupka, which is to take place in Paris next year.

The partnership is to include the energy industry as well, since both countries rely on nuclear energy. “This matter may yet take on further significance once the government decides on the specifics of our nuclear future. But it does not concern nuclear power only – it also deals with renewable energy sources,” Drulak added.

Drulak thinks a number of matters of common interest to both countries merge with the themes discussed in the EU, for instance, the common European defence. The Czechs and the French have not been co-operating on some European issues as yet, Drulak said. He said that the French diplomacy under the lead of President Macron strives to seek a compromise, not only with Germany as a strong player, but also with the smaller states.

Drulak referred to a recent meeting of the French leader with prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia.

He said: “it is important to remind even some of the old member states of the presence of Central Europe and of the fact that it has a role in European politics. I see Macron’s meeting with our prime minister and other prime ministers as a proof of his awareness of that, proving that he seeks healthy relationship with Central Europe.”

The ambassador believes that a reinforcement of contacts with France on all levels is also crucial for Czech Republic’s position within the EU. He thinks Paris together with Berlin belong to the centres of current Europe. “If we strive for balanced relationship with Europe, we shouldn’t let one of them be omitted by Prague,” Drulak said.

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