In the picture Ministre Dr. Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner and Ambassador Tomáš Kafka – Picture by Land NRW.
Tuesday, 23 February 2021, Düsseldorf, State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia to the German Federation: On behalf of the Premier of NRW, Minister of European and International Affairs, Dr. Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner received the Czech Ambassador to Germany, Tomáš Kafka.
Dr. Holthoff-Pförtner called for a constant search for unity in the growing Europe and not to let ideas of Western, Central and Eastern Europe become dividing lines. “Europe – it is like three strands that have to be braided into one plait,” said Holthoff-Pförtner following Kafka’s inaugural visit to the State Chancellery. According to Kafka’s signals during the talks in Düsseldorf, the Czech Republic sees itself as a bridge builder between East and West. The ambassador emphasised his country’s role as a mediator and suggested that the relationship between the entire region and Germany be deepened even further.
Relations between North Rhine-Westphalia and the Czech Republic are very close. Culturally and economically. During their meeting, Holthoff-Pförtner and Kafka emphasised above all the common cultural and historical roots. The Minister was impressed: Tomáš Kafka has translated literary texts by Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass as well as works by his namesake Franz Kafka (no relation to the Ambassador) into Czech. The diplomat is considered a great lover of German literature.
The economic ties are also close. The Czech Republic ranks twelfth among North Rhine-Westphalia’s trading partners. The foreign trade companies CzechTrade and CzechInvest serve the entire Federal Republic from Düsseldorf and organise regular events in cooperation with NRW.Global Business, such as a business regulars’ table and network meetings dealing with the conditions for start-ups and energy policy.
Around 5200 Czechs have found a home in North Rhine-Westphalia. In three town twinning arrangements, the grown relationships are also driven forward by personal networks: Hilden maintains close contact with Neustadt a.d. Mettau, Rheinbach with Steinschönau, Salzkotten has a partnership with Bystrice pod Hostýnem.
The Czech Republic and North Rhine-Westphalia are also united by a current political concern: they are counting on the speedy start of accession negotiations with the states of the Western Balkans. Kafka and Holthoff-Pförtner confirmed this during the ambassador’s inaugural visit.
For further information:
Ministry of European and International Affairs of NRW: https://mbei.nrw/de/pressemitteilung/tschechischer-botschafter-zum-antrittsbesuch-der-staatskanzlei-des-landes-nordrhein
Ambassador Kafka: https://diplomatmagazine.eu/?s=Tomas+Kafka