Prague, July 13 (CTK) – The Czech government approved yesterday a new foreign policy concept that defines main areas of the Czech interests in the world and declares support for economic diplomacy and human rights promotion, Tomas Prouza, state secretary for European affairs, said on Twitter.
The plan, whose 16-page text CTK has at its disposal, declares Prague’s adherence to the legacy of the Czech humanist thinking, first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the Prague Spring reform movement from 1968, the Charter 77 pro-democracy appeal, and to the tradition of human rights protection.
The Czech foreign policy strives for security, prosperity and sustainable development, human dignity including human rights protection, for an effective service to citizens and the Czech Republic’s good name abroad, the document says, referring to Prague’s foreign political goals.
It says the anchor for the Czech foreign policy is the country’s position within the Euro-Atlantic civilisation, which is mainly expressed by its membership of the EU and NATO.
“I am glad that the new concept is being approved now that the world is undergoing big changes and that we change a number of crises such as the situation in Ukraine, Islamic State, the refugees, Grexit and the rise of anti-system parties. All this concerns the Czech Republic as well. We must say what our position in the world is, what values we adhere to,” Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) wrote on Twitter.
Though the concept is a new document, it has been completed based on the previous foreign policy concept, and has been preceded by a through debate on the Czech scene, he said.
The document thoroughly focuses on the security question.
It points to a change in the system of power in the world and to a shift to a multipolar world setup. The countries of eastern and southeastern Asia have sought a stronger say recently. Military capabilities of many countries have increased as a result of technological progress, the document says.
The probability of a direct endangering of the Czech territory by a massive military attack is low. However, the security and stability in the border parts of Europe and the areas bordering on Europe have been declining, the document says.
That is why a direct endangering of the allies, and thus also the Czech Republic, cannot be completely ruled out, “since our security is indivisible within NATO,” it says.
The concept also speaks about the fight against terrorism and about migration.
The main areas of the security interests of the Czech Republic and its allies include areas of East Europe, Western Balkans, North Africa, the Middle and Central East and Sahel, the document says.
It mentions the need to diversify strategic raw materials’ supplies.
Another issue the document thoroughly highlights is sustainable prosperity that would not lead to the deepening of social differences or degradation of human dignity, and that would be environment-friendly.
Economic diplomacy is to help enhance the Czech Republic’s prosperity, the document says.
Czech economic diplomacy will pay special attention to extra-European territories that show a strong potential of growth but often also pose risks implied by the unpredictability of their political and economic environments, corruption and a weak enforceability of law, the document says.
It mentions the importance of foreign development cooperation based on the Czech Republic’s position as a high-income country whose interest is to help reduce inequalities in the world.
In the human rights area, Prague promises to join the efforts at the all-world strengthening of women’s position in society.
The document traditionally mentions the countries of the Euro-Atlantic area, mainly its neighbours, the USA, Germany, France and Britain as its main partners.
It emphasises the Western Balkans countries and their effort to join the EU.
It says Russia, though it has recently fundamentally destabilised the European security architecture, is an important player in solving many international questions and therefore must be cooperated with.
The Czech Republic should strive for cooperation with Russia mainly in the areas of economy and culture, the document says.
A long-term goal is to overcome the current problems and reach partner relationship with Russia, it adds.
Some time ago, the planned new foreign policy concept was criticised for allegedly placing an insufficient emphasis on human rights promotion.
Zaoralek dismissed the criticism previously.
The new concept does not deny Vaclav Havel’s legacy of human rights promotion, but it is necessary to find ways to work with it. It cannot be done purely mechanically, Zaoralek said.
Zaoralek is foreign minister in the centre-left cabinet of Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) that was appointed in early 2014.