Czech Republic commemorates 25 years in NATO, Bill Clinton visits Prague

 24. 02. 2024      category: Events
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Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States of America, will visit Prague at the invitation of President of the Republic Petr Pavel. The former US President will be the keynote speaker at the 11th National Security Conference Our Security is Not a Given, which will take place on 12 March 2024 at Prague Castle on the 25th anniversary of the Czech Republic's accession to NATO. The invitation of the President of the Republic was also accepted by former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, who has already addressed the first edition of the conference at the Castle in March 2014, when he declared that NATO cannot stop expanding, and also in 2019.

Foto: Bývalý americký prezident bude hlavním vystupujícím na 11. ročníku národní bezpečnostní konference Naše bezpečnost není samozřejmost | NBSP
Picture: Former U.S. President to be keynote speaker at 11th Annual National Security Conference "Our security is not a given" | NBSP

At the beginning of his first term, President Clinton outlined for the first time in history a vision of a Europe without conflict, undivided and democratic. Securing Europe's freedom by inviting the democracies of Central and Eastern Europe to join NATO was a key plank of his vision, and the success of the March 1999 enlargement of the transatlantic alliance to include the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary was a historic step towards its realisation. It is also symbolic that it was 30 years ago, in January 1994, during a meeting with President Václav Havel in Prague, that President Clinton announced that NATO enlargement was not a question of if, but when.

Foto: Resort obrany se připravuje na výjezdní zasedání Vojenského výboru NATO v Praze | Shutterstock
Picture: Czech Republic commemorates a quarter of a century in NATO | Shutterstock

"Thanks to the historic expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance to include the countries of the former Eastern bloc, the Czech Republic has become a member of the strongest defence organisation and thus gained the best security guarantees in its history," said Zbyněk Pavlačík, chairman of Jagello 2000, which organises the conference.

The Our Security is Not a Given conference will be addressed by the highest constitutional officials, led by President Petr Pavel and Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Defence Minister Jana Černochová and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský. Representatives of the opposition will also speak during the traditional political panel. "We consider the internal political debate on security issues to be absolutely crucial, and that is why we are proud that leading representatives of all political entities, both from the ruling coalition and the opposition, annually discuss current security topics at our conference," added Zbyněk Pavlačík.

Foto: Momentka z loňské konference Naše bezpečnost není samozřejmost | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE
Picture: A snapshot from last year's conference Our security is not a given | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE

This year, the organizers have included a very topical theme of linking external and internal security, which will be addressed by the President of the Police, Lt. Gen. Martin Vondrášek and the Director General of the Fire Rescue Corps of the Czech Republic, Gen. Vladimír Vlček. However, the purpose of this year's conference is not only to evaluate the first quarter of a century of membership in the Alliance, but also to focus on the key topic of its future in the context of the current dynamic development of the security environment and threats, as NATO will mark 75 years since its founding in 1949 in early April. "If we want the Alliance to be the guarantor of our security in its 100th year in 2049, we have to do a lot of work today," Pavlačík added. In a special panel, the Prime Minister's National Security Advisor Tomáš Pojar and Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Karel Řehka.

Foto: Momentka z loňské konference Naše bezpečnost není samozřejmost | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE
Picture: A snapshot from last year's conference Our security is not a given | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE

The background for this panel was prepared by the leading think-tank AMO under the somewhat provocative title "The North Atlantic Alliance is not a given", which found apt inspiration in the title of the conference.

 Author: Michal Pivoňka

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