Pavel and Steinmeier Hail Czech-German Friendship In Pavel’s First Trip To Berlin as President
Steinmeier was receiving Pavel at the Berlin Bellevue Palace, the residence of German presidents. Photo credit: Petr Pavel, via Facebook.
Berlin, March 21 (CTK) – The Czech Republic and Germany are connected by a very close friendship, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after meeting his Czech counterpart Petr Pavel today.
Steinmeier said their conversation had shown that the two countries’ relations were not only bilateral, but also multilateral, highlighting the two countries’ firm anchoring in the EU and NATO.
Steinmeier also thanked the Czech Republic for heading the multinational NATO battlegroup in Slovakia, which also includes German troops.
“President Pavel and I have agreed that both of us will foster and look after this friendly and very close link between our countries,” said Steinmeier, adding that the relationship was never as good as now.
Steinmeier was receiving Pavel at the Berlin Bellevue Palace, the residence of German presidents, at the start of his official visit to Germany. The new Czech President was scheduled to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz later in the afternoon.
After arriving at Bellevue, Pavel and his wife Eva Pavlova were welcomed by Steinmeier and his wife Elke Budenbender.
This was followed by the reception of the Czech head of state with military honours, the playing of the two countries’ national anthems, and Pavel writing in the commemorative book.
The two presidents then had a roughly two-hour face-to-face meeting and a discussion with their delegations.
One of the main topics of the talks was the Russian aggression in Ukraine, which Steinmeier described as a “brutal aggressive war” with horrendous consequences.
“We cannot ignore the fact that with its attack on Ukraine, Russia has damaged the peaceful order in Europe, it has completely destroyed it,” he added.
Steinmeier also stressed the unity of the EU and NATO in the attitude to the war, affirming that both the Czech Republic and Germany are “standing firmly alongside Ukraine.”
Pavel said “it would be very unfortunate” if the self-esteem gained by the Central and Eastern European countries from their active support for Ukraine after the Russian attack led to a rivalry with Western European countries in the future.
“This would be the exact opposite of what we should do. I can see great sense in using the situation we are now in for further enhancement of the unity in Europe,” he added.
In the future, the unity of the democratic world will be needed not only for the relationship with Russia, but also due to the “global competition with China,” Pavel said.
They also discussed further support for Ukraine. Steinmeier noted that Germany was supporting Ukraine in the sphere of finance, humanitarian aid and military affairs, and also stressed the support from the Czech Republic.
“I would like to thank you and your country for having taken up the command of the battlegroup in Slovakia,” Steinmeier said.
Pavel said in the “new chapter of European history” that started with the Russian attack against a neighbouring state, Germany could play the decisive role in the postwar renewal of Ukraine. He added that the Czech Republic was ready to support this effort.
Before flying to Berlin, Pavel told journalists that he wanted to use his German trip to reset the relationship between the two countries’ presidents. He said he did not expect any controversial issues.
Pavel’s visit is the first of a Czech president to Berlin since November 2019, when Pavel’s predecessor Milos Zeman met Steinmeier at the 30th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Zeman also visited Berlin in September 2018, meeting Steinmeier and also former Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The last time Steinmeier was in the Czech Republic was in August 2021.