Press Advisories

9. 12. 202115:51

Speech by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at the Summit for Democracy

Prime minister Andrej Babis took part in the virtual Summit For Democracy organised by US president Biden. In his speech, he supported specific measures and steps the Czech Republic will undertake in order to strengthen and protect democracy, democratic institutions and human rights.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank President Biden for convening this Summit and for his leadership in our common endeavour to strengthen democracy and support human rights around the world.

The Czech people know full well that democracy is something what we need to constantly work on and fight for. Just a few weeks ago, we commemorated the 32nd Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the restoration of democracy in our country.

Today, while there are hardly explicit challenges to the concept of democracy as such, we see countless, subtle or, at times, very blunt moves to undermine democratic institutions. Corruption or disinformation campaigns, they are all subversive to the smooth functioning of democratic institutions. In addition, even more dangerously, they erode citizens’ trust in the democratic system and international law as such.

We need to devise and implement measures that give people the crucial assurance that every one of them plays an important role in our democratic system and has the power to influence it. I will now highlight a few activities, both domestic and international, through which the Czech Republic is ready to contribute to this joint effort.

Domestically, the fight against corruption must remain a top priority. We will introduce and further implement anti-corruption measures, and focus on efficient management of public resources. We will also raise public awareness concerning the protection of whistle-blowers also by an extensive media campaign and dedicated expert meetings.

Free and fair elections are the foundation of democracy and a critical component of political freedom. There can be no democracy without free and fair elections. We will strengthen our domestic resilience mechanisms in order to protect the integrity of elections against new hybrid threats such as disinformation campaigns. Equally, we will assist other countries as well. We will also continue to send election observers on international missions and use their suggestions and advice in dialogues with the respective countries. Domestically, we will explore ways to increase participation of citizens in elections.

Support for civil society and human rights advocates has long been the cornerstone of Czech foreign policy. Unfortunately, we have recently been witnessing renewed efforts by authoritarian governments to dismantle civil society, for example by the persecution of human rights activists. We will therefore continue in our efforts to speak out in support of civil society and support individuals and organisations under pressure, for example through our Transition Programme.

Freedom of speech and media freedom is a crucial component of democracy. However, equally important is unbiased reporting by journalists themselves which unfortunately is being replaced by activism and pushing of certain agenda which is increasingly true for public media as well. The Czech Republic will continue supporting independent journalists to help them deal with attacks and threats which they have increasingly been subject of in many countries, both online and offline. We will speak out in favour of freedom of the press internationally. We will also strengthen our engagement in the Media Freedom Coalition and the Freedom Online Coalition.

We will submit a more detailed list of commitments in writing in coming weeks.

Thank you for your attention.

Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister