The importance of the Pact of Free Cities is growing, Prague spokesman Hřib said in Munich

The importance of the Pact of Free Cities is growing, Prague spokesman Hřib said in Munich

Illustrative photo – Constitutive meeting of the Prague council, December 15, 2022, Prague. Mayor Zdeněk Hřib.

Munich (Germany) – The importance of the Pact of Free Cities, which was founded by Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw and Budapest in 2019 to support democratic values, continues to grow due to developments in the world. In today's debate at the Munich Security Conference, the former mayor of the Czech capital, Zdeněk Hřib, stated this.

Advertisement'; }

Hřib said that cooperation between cities can have a pragmatic and value level and that the Pact of Free Cities is precisely a value pact. “Values ​​are important. Freedom and democracy are not just that, freedom has to be fought for, that's why we founded the Pact of Free Cities,” he said.

According to Hřib, the project is still important because it is based on the support of liberal values ​​and is an opposition to xenophobia, anti-liberal tendencies and populism. “The situation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia has changed, but it remains the same in Poland and Hungary,” he said. He added that the pact not only maintains its value, but its importance is growing, as populism and anti-liberal currents are on the rise both in Eastern Europe and worldwide.

Three dozen cities have gradually joined the pact since its inception, including Berlin and Kyiv last year. Munich has also recently joined it. Its mayor, Dieter Reiter, signed the relevant statement on Friday during a discussion at the Munich Security Conference.

Hřib in Munich also talked about the sister agreement with Beijing, which Prague ended in 2019. “It wasn't like we said ' We don't like you,' we tried to act,” he said. He explained to the audience that the problem was related to one clause of the sisterhood treaty, which stated that Prague recognizes a unified China. According to Hřib, such recognition is not a matter for cities, but belongs to the level of states and foreign ministries. The Chinese side reacted negatively to repeated proposals to remove the mentioned article, and to the latest urgency, not at all, which led Prague's leadership to decide to terminate the contract. Because of the dispute with Beijing, the performances of musical groups in China that had a connection with the Czech metropolis were canceled.

In connection with China, Hřib then said that this Asian country runs concentration camps. “Real concentration camps, as we know from the Second World War documents. Such things have no place in the 21st century,” he added.