Dear ladies and gentlemen,

There are various reasons that lead to my disconcertedness about being awarded tonight. First reason is that I am not certain that I am the right person to be awarded tonight.

The second reason is not of personal origin. When looking around me it becomes obvious that neither of us, including me, have done enough for our security. We have not found enough of reasons and political courage timely, to name the military threat that openly with its political goals and aggression both verbal and non-verbal threatens security of democratic Europe.

Military force used to tear parts of Georgia was met with no political resistance. The absence of political answer encouraged the aggressor to reach his goal, to prepare and carry out annexation of Crimea and to deploy military power in armed rebellion in Russian-speaking part of Ukraine. However, it is not only the case of sovereign state being attacked and disrupted; it is also the case of bringing instability to the entire European region.

From the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union, our minds wandered around the illusion that at least for the next twenty years we do not need to expect any military threat coming from the former Soviet Union. Anyone, including me in the speech of Russian ambassador to the Czech Republic, who expressed his fears and refused to accept this illusion, was called a relict of Cold War.

Illusion about the non-existent, outside military threat has had its uncomfortable consequences. We have started building our professional army forces without backup, thus without real mobilization capabilities. We have started falling, and some of us still do, for the wrong illusion that armies should be used to ensure homeland security – against migrants or to increase numbers of police personal.

We have satisfied ourselves with the capability to create small functional groups. In the Czech case, we include one middle-sized brigade with unsatisfactory firebird capability without the ability to replace causalities into the 5th article of collective defence. This is not a mistake, this is a disgrace.

Democratic Europe, which we became part of after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, does not guarantee itself a common security due to some primitive nationalist reasons. We are excited to see the United States of America supporting the European Union to have better military capabilities. However, we depend on the U.S. so much that the European security depends fully on the American military power. President Trump has reminded us of this factor. We should be paying attention to the political correctness or incorrectness of Trump’s speeches. We should be paying more attention to boosting our European military and defence capabilities. Certainly, all this should be done in line with the Alliance.

Requirements to make European security more effective include finding the political will to create and realize the principles of common foreign policy from which the new common security policy can stem. Current representatives of Central and Eastern European states, that managed to return amongst democratic states after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, are smitten by the freedom brought to them by democracy and are again falling down to the dangerous spears of nationalism. These states that returned to democracy are also falling for the illusion of the essential importance of state sovereignty and disapprove of the common European policies that are required to preserve the freedom they have fought so hard for.

I believe that we should search for solutions not only according to the 5th article of Washington Agreement but also according to the 3rd article. The 3rd article asks the members of the Alliance be ready for defence to the greatest extent possible. The essential requirement for understanding this article is to understand that the Alliance represents a set of responsibilities for each member state. We should contribute to such understanding by searching for common security of the Alliance as a unit that values democracy and as a requirement of freedom.

Luboš Dobrovský