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7. 5. 2019 17:28

Speech of the Prime Minister on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Red Cross

Speech of the Prime Minister on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Red Cross, 7 May 2019.
Speech of the Prime Minister on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Red Cross, 7 May 2019.
On Tuesday, 7 May 2019, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš gave a speech at the Žofín Palace to celebrate 100 years since the foundation of the Czech Red Cross in 1919. The Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch, President of the Czech Red Cross Marek Jukl and representatives of the Red Crescent also attended the event.

Prime Minister’s speech

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, dear guests,

I am pleased to be able to celebrate this important anniversary with you on the occasion of 155 years since the foundation of the Red Cross on a global scale and 150 years since its foundation in the Czech Republic. There are milestones in our history that have influenced people’s lives for a long time. The establishment of the Czechoslovak Red Cross in February 1919 was one of the important steps after the independence of the Czechoslovak Republic. It therefore comes as no surprise that it was our first president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and his daughter Alice Masaryková, the founder and long-time president of the Czechoslovak Red Cross, who contributed to its foundation.

The Czechoslovak Red Cross shared the fate of the Czechoslovak state, not only the First Republic’s rise, but also the post-Munich era, post-war reconstruction as well as the subsequent fall in 1948, when it had to change into a state service organization and undergo nationalization. But even in the years after 1948, the Czechoslovak Red Cross participated in the helping after natural disasters, where its members spent thousands of hours as medical aid.

After November 1989, the Czechoslovak Red Cross regained its independence with its own health and social program. After 1992, the Czech Red Cross continued its main mission to respond to the current needs of citizens, while respecting the principle of humanity.

2018 was yet another year when the Czech Red Cross continued its long-term support and assistance to the victims of the Syrian armed conflict.  As I have been informed, the eighth consignment of humanitarian aid of the Czech Red Cross was traditionally focused on increasing the availability of health care in Syria (the Czech Red Cross provided medical equipment and material) and this assistance amounted to more than CZK 5 million.

I have personal experience from my work at the foundation of my former company, when I cooperated with the Czech Red Cross. Also, I have now initiated negotiations with representatives of the Syrian Red Crescent organization, when we plan to build a centre for 50 local orphans in Syria and to gradually expand it. This should be based on close collaboration between our Red Cross and Syrian Red Crescent, which should currently present its version of the project. The project Children’s Villages in Syria is my private initiative, because if we were to do it as a State under our bureaucracy and the Public Procurement Act, we would probably never have been able to do it. So we have a proposal for the Village project, we have modular buildings, it is a completely Czech product that is produced in the Czech Republic and then transported in containers to Syria. We have also selected a piece of land and now we are waiting for the Syrian party to advice on the legislation on new buildings.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe that the 100th anniversary will be an impetus for the Czech Red Cross to further develop its humanitarian activities and provide an impetus for our public to further support its activities. Let me thank you and express my sincere and profound respect for all of you – the President, the staff, the members and the volunteers – for your help to the needy, for your high commitment and dedication.

Finally, as Prime Minister, I want to assure you that the current government is committed to making the best possible conditions for this demanding activity. I greatly appreciate your commendable achievements and wish you success in the years to come.

Thank you.

Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister

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