2. 9. 2013 15:51

Speech by the Czech Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok at the meeting of the country's honorary consuls held in the Prague Castle

Jiří Rusnok se zúčastnil setkání s honorárními konzuly na Pražském hradě, 2. září 2013, zdroj: archiv KPR
Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok at the meeting of the country's honorary consuls held in the Prague Castle, 2nd September 2013, photo: Prague Castle Archive.

Mr. President,
Dear Minister Kohout,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Honourable guests,

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to this meeting of honorary consuls of the Czech Republic. For some of you it is for the first time ever you see and visit Prague; that is why I want to wish you the most pleasant stay in this beautiful city you are more or less in your consular career connected to.

This year we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signature of Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Please let me mention that during the complicated process of negotiations of this Convention – by the way with significant contribution of Czech lawyer Jaroslav Žourek – there was still a question raised whether general provisions relating to honorary consular officers should be incorporated as well. I think the decision to cover both categories in one document was enormously far-sighted. It seems that those distinguished experts anticipated current situation very well – I mean the growing importance of consular officers of honorary nature.

I would like to mention a few reasons why. Firstly, diplomacy made a giant step forward and nowadays it involves much more participants than it used to ever before. In our everyday struggle for information, security and business exchange embassies and governments are no longer the only subjects. Citizens, NGOs or corporate structures are not passive observers any more. The link between citizens’ needs and the everyday activities of honorary consuls is obvious. Secondly, for successful enhancement of trade it is necessary to build a well organised network, which requires having numerous constituent posts located throughout key regions instead of only one embassy in the capital. To sum up, please let me quote one experienced diplomat who noted: “While the avenues for diplomacy have widened, the vehicles for diplomacy must keep pace as well.”

Of course, there are several states in the World that did not use the possibility to establish honorary consulates. On the other hand, many smaller countries have been doing the very opposite in the recent years. The experience shows that countries of the size of the Czech Republic tend to benefit from the services of honorary consuls.

I am convinced your activities, which I very much appreciate, will perfectly fit to the upcoming phase of world economy where reliability, capability and cost-effectiveness are playing a significant role. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me wish you much success in your service in favour of the Czech Republic. Your work is of utmost importance to the Government and I assume that this importance will persist and even grow in the future.

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