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Czech PM Fiala: Go Beyond Rhetoric

Czech PM Fiala: Go Beyond Rhetoric

AP Exclusive: Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala: It's incumbent that we go beyond rhetoric in supporting Ukraine and the transatlantic alliance.

Petr Fiala

We live in an era that seems to be defined increasingly by confrontation, conflict and crises. One problem after another seems to pile on. If we step back, it’s not hard to see that Russia’s war on Ukraine, the war in the Middle East and China’s growing ambition are part of larger global struggle liberal democracies will face in the near-term.

In times like these, it’s urgent that we foster serious and ever deepening collaboration among like-minded nations allies. Nowhere is this more evident than in the indispensable alliance between North America and Europe – a linchpin of global stability and progress. Transatlantic cooperation speaks not only to shared values and historical ties, but also to a crucial alignment of interests.

It cannot be overstated or repeated too often: The bond between North America and Europe is deeply rooted in common democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law. From the crucible of World War II to the triumphs of the Cold War, this enduring partnership has not only safeguarded peace and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic but has also served as a beacon of hope for nations aspiring to democratic governance and individual freedoms.

What is more: These things are hardly a matter of nostalgia or simple-minded sentimentality. Can anyone imagine a world, today’s world, in which the United States and Europe fail as a common community to defend a rules-based order?

There is hope, inspiration, and aspiration. In the face of Russian aggression, the United States and its European allies forged a united front. They safeguarded energy security. In the aftermath of Putin's audacious invasion of Ukraine, European nations and G7 allies led by the United States swiftly implemented measures to cap Russian energy prices. This rapid, coordinated response points to such immense potential.

The United States redoubled its commitment to bolstering support for European Union allies, aiding in the diversification away from Russian energy dependence through strategic tools like liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. This comprehensive strategy not only strengthens transatlantic cooperation but also serves as a formidable defense against the destabilizing tactics employed by Russia.

By diminishing Europe's reliance on Russian energy, the transatlantic alliance has taken decisive action to enhance regional security and fortify resilience against the hostile maneuvers of a common adversary.

Technological alliance is vital for transatlantic cooperation, alongside energy security, amidst the evolving global landscape. The advancements in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and quantum computing are not only revolutionizing industries but also reshaping geopolitical dynamics. Maintaining the technological edge is paramount for economic prosperity and safeguarding democratic values and national security. 

Both the United States and Europe recognize the urgency of addressing these challenges and have taken steps to bolster their technological capabilities and safeguard their interests. However, China's emergence as a formidable competitor in the global technological arena and rapid technological advancement, fueled by a strategic vision for global dominance, raises concerns about its growing influence and potential to undermine democratic principles. Its aggressive pursuit of emerging technologies, combined with state-sponsored cyber malicious acitivities, including prepositioning in critical infrastructure, pose a significant, long-term challenge to the transatlantic alliance.

In response, the United States and Europe must deepen cooperation to address technological challenges. This includes enhancing information sharing, coordinating policies, and investing in research and development to maintain a competitive edge. Establishing common standards for emerging technologies is crucial to ensure they align with democratic values, human rights, and international law.

In the sphere of security and defense, the transatlantic alliance remains a linchpin of international stability. Collaboration between NATO allies strengthens deterrence, enhances interoperability, and fosters collective defense, highlighting the indispensable nature of solidarity between North America and Europe. It is incumbent upon each member to contribute their fair share to maintain the collective security umbrella that protects all allies. We heed the call, and the Czech Republic is on its way to reach the shared NATO target of 2 % of GDP spent on defense this year.

Beyond security and defense, transatlantic cooperation catalyzes prosperity and resilience in an interconnected global economy. Through trade agreements, investment partnerships, and regulatory alignment, collaboration between the United States and Europe not only enhances market access but also stimulates innovation and creates jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. This multifaceted cooperation serves as a bulwark against economic uncertainty and geopolitical instability, bolstering security and defense capabilities while driving technological advancements.

Crucially, cooperation with allies, such as the partnership between the United States and the Czech Republic, is pivotal in addressing these multifaceted challenges. The Czech Republic's strategic location in the heart of Europe positions it as a key ally in promoting stability and security on the continent, extending its cooperation with the United States beyond defense and energy to encompass various areas of mutual interest, including trade, technology, and innovation.

We’re stepping up beyond rhetoric. Two years after Russia's full-scale invasion, the most pressing need for Ukraine is artillery ammunition. Both sides use heavy cannon fire to hold largely static, entrenched positions along the 1,000-km (620-mile) front line.  During the last two years we have helped to deliver 1.3 mil. rounds of large caliber ammunition to Ukrainian forces. Thanks to recent contributions of our European allies and Canada we will be able to deliver additional hundreds of thousands of rounds within the next year.

By working together, North America and Europe, alongside allies like the Czech Republic, can avoid this fate and confront the complexities of the modern world, uphold shared values, and build a stable and prosperous future for generations to come.   

Petr Fiala is the prime minister of the Czech Republic.

Image: Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala briefs the media following a meeting of the European Council in February, 2024. (Government of the Czech Republic)