Foreign Minister of Czech Republic and Vice Chairman of the Czech Social Democratic Party, Mr. Tomáš Petříček has said that Czech Republic is readily stand by Australia to support rule based system in Pacific and rest of the world.
“We are allies and partners and we both believe and defend an international order based on rules and respect of international law. We stand united with Australia and we both defend universal human rights and respect for strong democratic system”, he told Vibe Media Australia in an exclusive interview on Thursday in his office.
Tomáš Petříček, a coalition partner in the Czech government was categorical that security is a common concern for both of our nations as we are working together to bring stability in various parts of the world.
“We are allies in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are cooperating with Australia on number of new challenges including cyber security as we are like minded nations”, he said adding we share interest to constructively engage the major world powers in creating international order which provide safety and respect to the nations of all sizes. We want from China, Russia and United States to constructively contribute in solving global problems.
On bilateral relation with Australia which is home of about 25 thousand strong Czech community, Foreign Minister Petříček, termed Australia as a great friend as both share lot of common interests and have similar position on many international issues.
Although since 2011 no bilateral ministerial visits could take place but both countries maintain regular contacts.
He said in February 2018 at Visegrad (V4) in Budapest our then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Stropnický and then Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had detail discussion to strengthen our partnership.
“With Australia we have strong cultural and people to people contacts. We have about 25 thousand Czech community living in Australia making a bridge between our two close allies and friends”, he said.
On Wednesday Mr. Paul Wojciechowski, the outgoing Australian Ambassador to Poland accredited to Czech Republic paid a farewell visit and met with Czech Foreign minister.
“We had fruitful discussion in detail about the future of our friendly relations as we want to accelerate our economic cooperation and looking for more intensive bilateral visits and increase the level of communications on major security issues like security in South East Asia and Middle East”, he told.
A strong business delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister of Czech Republic is heading to Australia and New zealand in October 2019 with a wide business and political agenda in hand at a time when European Union and Australia inching closer to the Free Trade Agreement.
“This visit is part of our regular political consultations to establish more productive relationship and to build business to business contacts as we want to see our trade and investment grow further for mutual benefit”, Foreign Minister elaborated.
He invited Australian investors and businessmen to invest in Czech Republic and open businesses for Australian companies.
“Czech republic is an open economy and support free trade. Czech products have great reputation and we are also looking forward to buy Australian quality products for good prices which would serve best for consumers of both sides”, he maintained.
On EU-Australia FTA which is currently at a crucial stage of negotiations, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček , a staunch supporter of stronger EU reaffirmed their strong support for the proposed agreement.
“Czech Republic has been supporting EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations from beginning. EU-Australia FTA would create level playing field for both of our nations and we will have the same access to Australian markets same as other countries are enjoying”, he argued.
EU-Australia FTA has more value in view of protective measures by certain states: Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček
Referring the trade tension between USA and China, he was of the view that due to growing trade tension in he world this FTA has become more important as some major actors are placing some protective measures.
“Well regulated free trade will benefits all and create win win solutions and both sides will benefit from free trade”, he expressed.
About work and holiday agreement beween Czech Republic and Australia, he said we are evaluating this pilot program started in 1st March 2018 .
“I believe this agreement is a milestone in strengthening people to people contacts. This agreement will allows both Czechs and Australians to know more about each other culture and life in Australia and Europe. It will also benefit to those talented people who want to stay longer and work in each other country”, Foreign Minister said.
He also invited young Australians to come to Czech Republic and enjoy the European life, history and quality recreations as Czechs are very friendly, sporting and entertaining people.
About the new leadership of European Union and the challenges being faced by the the world largest trading block, Czech Foreign Minister reiterated that a strong EU is one of our core priority and Czech Republic is strongly advocate for a strong and united EU.
“Our strength is in our cohesion, in abilities to protect out people from new threats and to promote solutions to the complex issues like disarmament, global trade and climate change”, he said
Mr. Petříček believes that EU has a lot to give to the world. It is a major economic power and largest trading block and a market of 500 million people.
“We are more stronger to address problems around EU when we work together”, Czech Foreign Minister
“We need to realise that our strength is in unity. We are more stronger to address problems around EU when we work together. If we pool resources, we can have an affect in Africa to provide prosperity to people there. We can tackle issues concerns our own citizens like uncontrolled migration. Its a long process but solution is in united EU”, The Czech leader added.
On Brexit effect on EU, he said it cost hugely to both sides not only economically but created uncertainty among people living on both sides but hopefully it would not damage EU.
Even in Czech Republic, he said there was some discussions by minor populist parties to explore the option of Czechxt, but vast majority rejected the idea as they are well integrated in the EU.