Austria and Czech Republic for European Stability and Security

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: November 8, 2023; 13:14 ♦ (Vindobona)

During a pivotal meeting in Vienna, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and his Czech counterpart Jan Lipavský showcased a united front on several critical international issues.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (r.) meets his Czech counterpart Jan Lipavský (l.) in Vienna. / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Amidst a time of global unrest, both ministers expressed staunch support for Israel's right to self-defense following a major offensive by Hamas. They also voiced their backing for the expansion of the European Union to include Ukraine, Moldova, and the Western Balkans, emphasizing the EU's role in counteracting a "ring of fire" of conflicts surrounding it with a "ring of stability."

The diplomatic duo held a press conference during Lipavský's first bilateral visit to Vienna, where they agreed on the importance of involving Ukraine in any future peace negotiations. This consensus comes in the wake of the ongoing war in Ukraine, which they both see as a conflict that won't be resolved on the battlefield but rather through diplomatic discussions. However, both acknowledged that such negotiations are not yet on the horizon.

Lipavský's visit to the Diplomatic Academy earlier in the day highlighted the Czech Republic's security strategy, noting that EU and NATO memberships are essential security guarantees for Ukraine. He warned against a peace resolution without Kyiv's involvement, drawing parallels with the betrayal felt by his nation following the Munich Agreement in 1938.

On the topic of the UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which both countries voted against, Lipavský clarified that there would be no change in the Czech Republic's stance and certainly no withdrawal from the UN, despite suggestions from Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová.

Both ministers also tackled historical bilateral issues, with Schallenberg noting a significant shift from navigating through sensitive subjects to now visiting as friends with a shared geopolitical approach. This friendship is further solidified by economic ties, with Austrian investments in the Czech Republic amounting to 17 billion euros and Czechs ranking as the fourth-largest group of tourists in Austria.

Furthermore, the ministers addressed regional cooperation platforms like the Slavkov format and the Central Five, underscoring the importance of these dialogues in Central Europe, especially in the face of challenges like illegal migration, rising energy prices, and geopolitical tensions.

This unified stance between Austria and the Czech Republic, as Schallenberg expressed, signifies a commitment to a rule-based international system, freedom, and humanity, standing firmly against neo-imperialistic politics and terrorism. It is a testament to their shared resolve to foster long-term stability and security in Europe's backyard—the Western Balkans—and beyond.

Czech MFA

Austrian MFA