I would like to wish everyone a successful meeting at the Rhodes conference. I participated in this forum seven times already, and I hope to be back again next year.
I would like to send my regards to my longtime friend and the forum’s leader and organizer Vladimir Yakunin, and I would like to wish a successful year to the forum’s guests and participants.
Mr. President, You are well-known as an experienced and distinguished politician, and also as a co-founder and an active participant of the Rhodes conference. What does this forum mean to you personally?
For me, the Rhodes forum is a very refreshing place where I can meet a lot of interesting people with great personalities – people who have achieved a lot and are extremely successful, yet they are not at all arrogant or pretentious.
I’d like to ask you about your view of the globalization process. Has your opinion changed recently?
I disagree that globalization should be viewed as a new phenomenon. Globalization started as early as 1492 with the discovery of America, and ever since then it has been getting progressively stronger. The telecommunication and transport evolution contributed to the recent boost in globalization, but this is a process that has been going on for centuries.
How is the Czech Republic adapting to the major global events?
The Czech Republic currently exports 80% of what it produces, mostly to the European Union countries. My hope is to further diversify our export strategy. The Czech Republic has the highest foreign investment rate per capita, which reflects its credibility. I would like to welcome investors from others countries like Russia, China, India, Brazil to invest their capital in Czech Republic as well.
This year, the Forum will focus on targeting the younger generation and bringing their attention to the current global changes. What can you say about the dialogue with the younger generation in the Czech society?
Karl Marx wrote that there is only one science – the science of history. Although I am not a Marxist, I have to agree with him on this point. People must have a profound knowledge of the history of their country to be able to understand the significance of globalization and global co-operation. Only knowing history with all its wars and conflicts, one realizes that globalization is the way to peaceful coexistence.
Mr. President, thank you, it was a pleasure to talk to you.
The pleasure is all mine.