Press Advisories

13. 7. 2015 22:15

Government approves the Czech Republic’s Foreign Policy Concept

On 13 July 2015, the Government approved the Czech Republic’s new Foreign Policy Concept. This strategy document, which is based on the Government’s Policy Statement of February 2014, reflects the transformation of the global world in recent years and also incorporates the priorities of the Government of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. The Czech Republic’s Foreign Policy Concept defines three global objectives: security, prosperity and sustainable development, and human dignity, including human rights. It also has two national objectives: a service to the public and the reputation of the Czech Republic.

“I am pleased that the new concept is being delivered now, at a time when the world is undergoing major changes and when we are faced with numerous crises, such as the situation in Ukraine, the Islamic State, refugees, Grexit, and the rise of anti-system parties all this applies to the Czech Republic, too. We need to say where we stand in this world and what we espouse. In an increasingly multipolar world, we subscribe to cooperation with those who respect the rules and do not undermine the current world order,” said the Minister for Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek as he spoke of the new strategy document. Although the Czech Foreign Policy Concept has been drawn up as a new document, it actually also builds on the previous concept. “The preparation of the concept itself was preceded by a foreign policy audit. We invited over 70 experts to contribute to the discussion. We held a root-and-branch debate on the concept, not only at the Ministry, but also with coalition partners and the Office of the President of the Republic,” said the head of Czech diplomacy.

The concept stipulates that the primary framework for Czech foreign policy is the European Union, and in particular its Common Foreign and Security Policy. The document also indicates that the Czech Republic places an emphasis on the multilateral handling of problems, not only via the European Union, but also – and in particular – through the United Nations. When it comes to relationships with non-Western actors in international affairs, the concept is inclined towards a cooperative approach in order to invite them to help in the formation of international rules, except where those countries palpably undermine the existing world order or grossly violate international law.

In the realm of security, the concept draws on the Czech Republic’s updated Security Strategy. It responds to new threats, exemplified by hybrid war, and emphasises a holistic approach, according to which security risks cannot be eliminated by force alone. The concept underlines the commitment to increase defence spending to 1.4% of GDP by 2020 and the role of NATO as the main guarantor of the Euro-Atlantic collective defence and security of the Czech Republic. The concept stresses support for CSDP, NATO and UN missions. It singles out the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahel as geographical regions relevant to the security of the Czech Republic.

As regards prosperity, the concept believes that its foundations lie in Czech membership of the EU’s single internal market. Economic diplomacy is fundamental to greater prosperity, although this must be accompanied by efforts to liberalise global trade through free trade agreements and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The concept mentions that the Czech Republic also contributes to increased global prosperity via its development cooperation, and that the country will seek to improve the economic sustainability of international development cooperation projects. In addition, the concept champions the reaching of an agreement on global sustainable development goals and global commitments to fight climate change.

Under the new concept, the Czech Republic is keen to promote human dignity particularly by supporting and protecting human rights, as well as via development assistance and humanitarian aid. The concept ascribes the same importance to economic, social and cultural rights as it does to civil and political rights. The method used in the promotion of human rights will be specified in the forthcoming concept of human rights policy and transition cooperation. The Czech Republic will also continue its efforts at maximising the binding force of the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute. It also wishes to be more active in advocating improvements in the status of women worldwide.

Regarding the first national objective under the Foreign Policy Concept, i.e. services to citizens, the document defines the goal of expanding the portfolio of consular services and ensuring better connectivity with the eGovernment system. The Czech Republic, according to the concept, will work towards extending visa representation agreements, visa facilitation agreements and the expansion of visa waivers where reciprocity has yet to be established.

As for the reputation of the Czech Republic, the concept places a particular emphasis on the Czech Republic’s branding, which should be based not only on traditionally valued areas (e.g. culture and spas), but should also draw on other achievements chalked up by the Czech Republic in science and technology, sports, and should harness industrial tradition and human capital. The concept mentions the intention to involve compatriots abroad and foreign nationals settled in the country in the promotion of the Czech Republic.

The Foreign Policy Concept also prioritises particular territories, specifically Central Europe, Southeastern Europe and Eastern Europe. The US, France and the UK are pinpointed for priority relations outside these territories. Within Central Europe, the concept highlights strategic dialogue with Germany, strategic partnerships with Slovakia and Poland, and the Visegrad Group as a vital platform for regional cooperation.

The concept also declares the critical attitude of Czech foreign policy towards Russia due to its destabilisation of European security and violations of international law. In addition, the document brings up the need to maintain contact with Russian civil society and, where possible, economic contact.

The Czech Foreign Policy Conception also confirms the intention to continue the strategic partnership with Israel. In relation to China, the concept recognises the importance of this country in addressing global issues and stresses the need to engage in regular dialogue with China. The concept identifies major potential in the Czech Republic’s strategic partnership with the Republic of Korea.

The Czech Republic’s Foreign Policy Concept will be available, in full, on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Foreign Relations > Analyses and Concepts).

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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