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Czech Embassy Manila lined-up activities to mark start of the Czech Republic’s Presidency to the Council of the European Union

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Left photo shows, H.E. Ambassador Jana Šedivá of the Embassy of the Czech Republic gives a token to H.E. Ambassador Michèle Boccoz of the Embassy of France as a symbol of gratitude and the turnover of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from France to the Czech Republic. Ambassador Šedivá and Ambassador Boccoz posed for posterity after the turnover ceremony.

The Presidency to the Council of the European Union is a responsibility each EU Member State takes for 6 months. The task of the presidency is to determine the agenda and priorities of the Council of the European Union, to preside over its meetings, to broker compromises among the states, as well as to represent the Union at meetings with the other EU institutions and external partners. Starting July 1st 2022, the Czech Republic officially took on the responsibility as the EU continues to face it’s most significant challenge since its founding. In order to usher in the Czech Republic’s presidency, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila hosted events that put relevance on the issues of the European Union today and the commitments of the Czech Republic Presidency during its term.

The Czech-French Connection

To usher in the transition of the presidency, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila, in cooperation with the Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia, organized two events that became an avenue to discuss the Czech-French connection in history and the European Union.Its first event organized together was a panel discussion entitled, “The Unbearable Lightness of European History: Czech-French Writer Milan Kundera on the Trauma of Foreign Invasion” at the Alliance Francaise de Manille. 

The event, moderated by Lifestyle Editor AA Patawaran, featured an esteemed panel of guest speakers such as PHDr. Adéla Gjuričová, Senior Researcher and Head of the Department of Political History at the Czech Academy of Sciences, Mr. Sarge Lacuesta, award-winning Filipino Writer, and renowned French foreign policy and security analyst, Mr. Nicolas Tenzer.  The gathering discussed the literary works of Czech writer Milan Kundera and the relevance of his insights from his experiences in post-World War 2 Czechoslovakia to the situation of the European Union and the world today.

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Milan Kundera Panel discuussion from left, Mr. AA Patawaran, Mr. Sarge Lacuesta, Mr. Nicolas Tenzer, and  PhDr. Adéla Gjuričová on screen

“Europe as a task”

The second event was a talk on European Values and Strategic Interests hosted together with the University of the Philippines Diliman last July 1, 2022, the official start of the Czech Republic Presidency to the Council of the European Union. The talk centered on the core values of the European Union, its dynamics among Member States and external partners, and its strategies regarding pressing issues such as the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the rising energy costs globally.

H.E. Ambassador Jana Šedivá answers questions regarding the experience of the Czech Republic
before and after its membership to the European Union. 

H.E. Ambassador Jana Šedivá shared her personal experiences of the Czech Republic’s condition before and after its membership to the European Union and discussed the Czech Republic’s priorities heading into its Presidency to the Council of the European Union.  Ambassador Šedivá also echoed in her discussion the core principle of the Czech Republic presidency, which was to emphasize “Europe as a task”. This means all Member States, through consensus building and dialogue, must work to unite and transcend personal issues for the sake of pushing forward reforms and policies that will benefit all and be an example of unity in diversity for the rest of the world.

These events are just the beginning of many more discussions and events that the Czech Republic has planned in order to lead the European Union into a direction that will uphold unity despite the crisis it is facing. With the many challenges that will be on its plate and with the world watching, the Czech Presidency will be working hard to accomplish its priorities and further the improvement of the European Union under its helm. For more information and news on the Czech Republic’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, visit www.eu2022.cz.

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