Text: M.Zisso; Photo: Archive
On the occasion of French National Day, celebrated on July 14 as a commemoration of the 1789 Bastille Day, Ambassador of France H.E. Mr. Alexis Dutertre hosted a special reception at the beautiful garden of the French Embassy in Prague. You can read selected parts of his welcome speech and together with the photos get a picture of the friendly atmosphere at the event.
Mister President, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Compatriots.
Dear guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends.
What a pleasure to welcome you and meet you so many for our national holiday and mark the Franco- Czech friendship!
I am very happy to be able to welcome you to the French Embassy on the occasion of Bastille Day.
I would just like to mention two subjects that bind us: our European unity and our Franco-Czech relationship. For more than 500 days, Europeans have shown the strength of their unity in support of Ukraine, together with their allies. The war is not over but it is already a geopolitical failure for Russia. To use the formula of Milan Kundera, who died this week and to whom we pay tribute, we will not let Ukraine be another „kidnapped West“.
[In Czech] France and the Czech Republic today share several convictions : there is no place for a Russian imperial fantasy in Europe; support for Ukraine will continue as necessary to achieve a lasting peace, that is, chosen by Ukraine and respecting international law; the best security guarantees for Ukraine are in its membership of the EU and NATO. It is a path that our two countries have helped to pave. To use the formula of Milan Kundera, to whom we pay tribute today, we will not let Ukraine be another „kidnapped West“.
In a more brutal and competitive world, our nations need a stronger and less naive Europe. For France, a more united Europe is also a more sovereign Europe.
This European unity is also necessary to strengthen our economic security and reduce our strategic dependencies in terms of defense, technology and energy security. For this to happen, the next enlargement must be successful. This means simultaneously preparing the reforms necessary for a Europe of 36 Member States to function effectively. France wishes to work on this topic with Czechia.
Our Franco-Czech relationship is strengthened today by the shared conviction that there is no West and East, no old and new: there is only one Europe. This common view is at the foremost of all our personal ties, supported by the embassy, the French Institute in Prague, the French high school and CEFRES. It is a network of cross-investments, scientific and research partnerships, alliances of European universities, multilingualism with high schools with Czech sections in France and bilingual sections here, exchanges between cultural and audiovisual institutions, actions for equality between women and men. Finally, nearly 500 French companies provide nearly 70,000 direct jobs in the Czech Republic.
Today, France wishes to strengthen its long-term partnerships with the Czech Republic: within the nuclear program with the offer from EDF and the European nuclear alliance, in the area of transport and high-speed rail infrastructure, with the PPP model; by investing here in the vehicle of the future; and by developing technological and artificial intelligence ecosystems.
I would therefore like to thank those who, through their commitment, keep our Franco-Czech relationship alive: the French community, the Franco-Czech chamber of commerce, foreign trade advisors, the six French alliances in the region (and soon a 7th in Zlín by the end of the year!), associations and of course our elected consular officials. I also extend my very sincere thanks to all the partners of our reception today.
Thank you to all friends of the Franco-Czech relationship! Very happy national holiday to all!