Secretary of State for International Trade speaks at Velvet Revolution Ball

18 November 2019


The Secretary of State for International Trade, the Rt Hon Liz Truss, addressed an event in London to mark the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

She recalled watching communism collapse across Central and Eastern Europe; the young Germans astride the Berlin wall as they tore it down brick by brick; and the students who bravely took to the streets a few days later and sparked the Velvet Revolution.

Welcoming Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tomas Petricek she said: "I was fortunate enough to visit your beautiful Capital in the 1990's and clearly a huge weight had been lifted. This peaceful transition of power is a testament to the Czech people. Of course, it was Mrs Thatcher, more than any other Western leader, who made the philosophical, moral and economic case for freedom. Her determination to face down Communism is one of the reasons she is so revered to this day in Central and Eastern Europe."

Liz Truss reflected on how, since since 1989, Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic, has seized the opportunities afforded by that freedom.

"Helped, I like to believe, by the British expertise we made available in the early 90's through the Know-How Fund, you accomplished a very rapid transformation and have built a formidable economy."

Trade between the UK and the Czech Republic reached almost £10 billion in 2018, compared to 20 years ago when the figure was less than £2 billion.

As she neared the end of her speech, Liz Truss referred to the Czech Republic as friends, colleagues and neighbours, whose rights would continue to be protected after the UK leaves the EU.

She concluded by saying: " Your progress over the last 30 years has shown the world what people can do when the shackles of oppression are removed and they are given their fundamental right to live as free individuals. These are lessons we must never forget. The spirit of the Velvet Revolution must live on in our hearts."


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