Nordic-Baltic National Days Together

From left: Miloš Vystrčil, President of the Senate, Ms. Markéta Pekarová Adamová, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, H.E. Mr. Laimonas Talat-Kelpša, Ambassador of Lithuania, H.E. Mr. Fredrik Jörgensen, Ambassador of Sweden, H.E. Ms. Gita Kalmet, Ambassador of Estonia, H.E. Mr. Soren Kelstrup, Ambassador of Denmark, H.E. Mr. Pasi Tuominen, Ambassador of Finland, H.E. Mr. Victor Conrad Ronneberg, Ambassador of Norway, H.E. Ms. Gunta Pastore, Ambassador of Latvia, H.E. Ms. Maria Erla Marelsdottir, Ambassador of Iceland,
Mr. Vitalij Usatyj, Charge d’affaires of Ukraine

Text: M. Zisso; Photo: Nikola Ramešová

The countries of Nordic and Baltic regions – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden – hold their yearly joint National Days celebration together. Prague is the only place where this celebration has been arranged for many years. We fully agree with Ambassadors when they say that „our strength thrives not only on our economies and our alliances but above all on our values. Solidarity, justice, respect for human rights, and fundamental freedoms form the foundation of our societies. It works both inwards and outwards.“ We all stand for Ukraine together as great allies and partners.

Here are selected sections of speeches at the event:

H.E. Mr. Laimonas Talat-Kelpša

Mr. President of the Senate, Respected Guest of Honor, Madam Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Excellencies, colleagues, distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries and Ukraine, we warmly welcome you to this joint celebration of our national days, already taking place for the sixteenth time. Prague is the only place in the world where such a demonstration of our solidarity is present. We would like to thank you all for your friendship and cooperation.

H.E. Mr. Fredrik Jörgensen

It’s been over a year since Russia has waged its brutal, unprovoked, unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine. As a gesture of our firm solidarity, we again have invited Ukraine to be part of our team tonight. The Nordic-Baltic region is a region committed to peace, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law – the values that Ukraine so bravely is fighting for. And we really appreciate that the Czech Republic is such a strong champion for these values.

H.E. Ms. Gita Kalmet

The war has brought massive damage and cost thousands of lives. But it also reignited our sense of unity and shared responsibility. In supporting Ukraine, we stand together and will stand together, as long as it takes. We are happy that Ukraine, along with Moldova and Bosnia-Herzegovina, finally received candidate status for EU membership. And we look forward to the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, where Finland and, hopefully, Sweden will be welcomed as NATO members. The summit in Vilnius will also be a critical moment to decide our next steps regarding Ukraine.

H.E. Mr. Søren Kelstrup

The Czech Republic has been supporting Ukraine since Day One. On several occasions, President Pavel has mentioned the ‘rediscovered self-esteem and leadership’ of Central and Eastern Europe in these new and challenging geopolitical circumstances. We, the Nordic and Baltic countries and Ukraine, share this point of view. The Czech Republic has shown remarkable leadership during its presidency of the EU, and it could further promote initiatives connecting Northern, Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe more firmly together.

H.E. Mr. Pasi Tuominen

Together, the nations on this dais represent an economy worth 2.5 trillion euros. Our trade and production will expand even further as Ukraine embarks on the path of post-war reconstruction. It is our shared interest that the recovery and reconstruction process is inclusive and based on the highest standard of technology, innovation, management, and transparency. Being inherent to the Nordic-Baltic way of life, this approach will continue to underlie our cooperation with Czechia, in search of the best solutions for Ukraine.

H.E. Mr. Victor Conrad Rønneberg

Our strength thrives not only on our economies and our alliances but above all on our values. Solidarity, justice, respect for human rights, and fundamental freedoms form the foundation of our societies. It works both inwards and outwards. We fully support the activities of international institutions, including the International Criminal Court and the Council of Europe. We also focus on advancing gender equality, equal pay, and equal access to healthcare and jobs – including here in the Czech Republic. The huge interest of various local agencies and NGOs to partner with us on these topics is highly rewarding.

H.E. Ms. Gunta Pastore

The Czech Republic marks its thirtieth anniversary this year. It has proven a reliable international partner, a successful economy, a well-functioning democratic society. We applaud all these accomplishments. And most recently, the Czech people demonstrated unparalleled compassion by opening their homes to over half a million of war refugees from Ukraine. We admire this ‘human-centric’ nerve of the Czech nation. We believe it could serve the construction and development of future policies in Europe.

Mr. Vitalij Usatyj

Every noble deed has a face and a name behind it. We witness this every day in the battlefields of Ukraine and the diplomatic battlefields worldwide. I wanted to thank our Nordic-Baltic friends for inviting me to the Joint Nordic-Baltic National Day celebration, especially as this invitation comes as a gesture of solidarity with Ukraine. At the same time, I would like to extend our special gratitude to our host country – the Czech Republic, which provides Ukraine with invaluable military, political, economic, and humanitarian aid. With great pleasure, I would like to invite Madam Pekarová-Adamová to address us.

H.E. Ms. Maria Erla Marelsdottir

With renewed leadership and reclaimed self-esteem, the Czech Republic is launching a vast set of reforms to make Czechia safer, cleaner, more prosperous, and resilient. Rest assured: the Nordic-Baltic nations will support you in this endeavor. And we all, from Iceland to Ukraine, wish you the best of success, since your success will be the success of the whole of Europe.

Ms. Markéta Pekarová Adamová – Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies

Miloš Vystrčil – President of the Senate, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

In the beginning, I would like to thank you all for coming. It is my honor to be here together with you. Your countries have definitely much more in common than the two seas that connect your shores. All your countries are home to hard working and inspiring people. All your countries have traditionally cherished their freedom and independence.

Also, they have never hesitated to raise their arms and pay the highest price to defend their freedom. More recently your, all your countries have been very active globally in promoting the values of freedom and democracy.

But what is very important to me as well – all your countries have been very close friends and allies of the Czech Republic.

During my term as the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, I had the chance to meet with most of the speakers of your countries’ parliaments – with some of them on several occasions. With all of them, we are in agreement on the major issues that Europe is currently facing – being it the Russian aggression and the resolve to support Ukraine until the victory; the belief in free trade; or the necessity to enhance the Transatlantic cooperation.

Our country, as a member of the European Union and NATO, follows with delight the recent development, when

Finland became a member of the Alliance. Hopefully, others will follow soon.

Even the European Union is open for new members! – please report this to Oslo, Mr. Ambassador. In this context, I am glad that we have here tonight a special guest, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Ukraine!

Ukraine has proven that it is an integral part of the European family and that it has a full right to enter the European Union. It will soon be a year since the EU granted the candidate status to Ukraine (and Moldova) and I hope that the accession talks will start as soon as possible. Ukraine also needs a clear perspective to join NATO. All alternatives would have long-term negative impact on the European security.

Let me conclude by expressing my gratitude to all your embassies for promoting the bilateral relations between the Czech Republic and your respective countries and thank you for organizing this reception. Congratulations to you all!

Tillykke! Onnittelut! Grattis! Gratulerer! Palju õnne! Apsveicu! Sveikinu! Vitaju!

Thank you all for coming and have a great evening.