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Strategic Issues of Euro-Atlantic Relations

Recorded on November 15, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

As of 2007, the Czech Republic is a well-established and solid part of the Euro-Atlantic institutional framework.  At the same time the Czech Republic continues to strive to build a strong and enduring Transatlantic partnership with a desire to refresh and strengthen the alliance based on shared values and a similar threat perception.  Newly elected political elites on the European political scene have opened novel opportunities for this vital partnership.  The Czech Republic has found itself at the center of a critical Transatlantic debate over the European Element of Missile Defense.  The threat of terrorism as a major challenge also calls for a fresh look at Transatlantic cooperation.  In this context, the Czech Republic is preparing its priorities for the EU presidency during the first half of 2009, a time which will coincide with the very first days of the newly elected President of the United States.  Just as the Czech Presidency of the EU will champion a "Europe without barriers," the Czechs would also like to extend this vision even further to aspire for "Transatlantic relations without barriers."

 

As a Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Alexander Vondra is responsible for the portfolio of the European Union and the preparation of the EU Presidency of the Czech Republic in the first six months of 2009.  He is a well established foreign policy thinker on the transatlantic relationship.  He was one of the architects of the integration of the Czech Republic into NATO.  Further, in the past, as the adviser to the President Vaclav Havel, Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic and Czech Ambassador to the United States of America, he has been one of the most prominent voices calling for a strong transatlantic relationship.