6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

2018 Czech and Slovak Freedom Lecture: Miracles in the Heart of Europe

Webcast available

Event Co-sponsors

Friends of Slovakia
American Friends of the Czech Republic
Embassy of the Slovak Republic
Embassy of the Czech Republic

 

Webcast Recap

This year we celebrate the centennial of the birth of Czechoslovakia and the 25th anniversary of its peaceful separation into the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic.

We are fortunate to have as our distinguished speaker former Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda (1998-2006), whose far-reaching governmental reforms enabled Slovakia to enter NATO and the European Union in 2004. He is currently President of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the official think tank of the European People’s Party based in Brussels. In 2007, he was awarded the F.A. Hayek International Prize for reforms and his fight against bureaucracy. He is also a marathon runner who ran in the 2001 New York City Marathon honoring the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, an extraordinary gesture by a visiting Prime Minister.

 

Selected Quotes
 

“Despite the consequences of the World War I, despite all the growing pains of the young post-war Czechoslovakia Republic, despite all the indignities we suffered in World War II, despite the horrors of fascism and communism, despite the brutal normalization following the 1968 invasion, despite the difficulties of the transformation period after the Velvet Revolution, despite the dissolution of the common state and creation of independent Slovak and Czech Republic, despite all of that here we are today, the Slovaks and the Czechs, equal, fully-emancipated members of NATO, the EU, and of the entire developed international democratic society.”

“A certain segment of the political elite in both the EU and in the United States questions the principles and perspective of liberal democracy.” 

“It seems to me that the key problem lies in the failures of political elites of recent years. Instead of launching much needed reforms, political elites are increasingly resorting to making unrealistic promises; they do so because the reforms are almost always painful in the short-run.”

“I believe that the time is ripe for meaningful European federalism. The United States could serve as an inspiring model for such project.”

“At the central level, member-states should give the EU exclusive competencies only in four areas: foreign policy, security, common currency, and a single market.” 

“The trans-Atlantic alliance has recently experienced problems for which not only we on the European side are to be blamed. The relationship between the allies have been influenced also by a shift in the basic paradigm on the United States side after the last presidential election.”