EU is the most complicated project in the world

The deputy ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Swiss Confederation, Pavel Bednar, accompanied by fellow diplomat and counsellor Pavel Skoda, gave a lecture about the history and current economic situation in their homeland to pupils specialising in the subject of economics at the Cantonal School in Zug on Wednesday.
“We are not here to put the case for or against membership of the European Union,” said Bednar. “We know that this is not so much a concern for you,” he said half-jokingly as he began to address the pupils.
The visit to the school was part of the celebrations associated with Europe Day 2017 when various events to raise awareness of the EU are held all over the world, the diplomats from the Czech Republic actually visiting a number of schools in Switzerland.
In addition to talking about the history of their country, the diplomats focused particularly on its economic development, mentioning the achievements of the well-known Skoda company, for example. They also talked about their profession as diplomats and about the development of the country since it joined the EU in 2004. The pair explained that membership of the European Union had boosted the country’s economy and led to greater security, hence it was not surprising that there was much support for the EU there. Interestingly, the currency there remains the Czech crown, rather than the euro.
Bednar (on the left in the photograph) explained that, basically, everyone at the embassy wanted the EU to succeed, even though it is currently facing challenges it has never experienced before. Membership of the EU and NATO had brought advantages of all kinds to the country, not least in securing its borders and creating buffer zones between areas where political and economic crises prevailed.
Pavel Skoda (on the right), who heads the Department of Economics at the embassy, said that the Czech desire for a strong EU was very much in line with Swiss interests, too, not least at international level. “There are three main economic great powers in the world at present,” said Skoda, “namely the USA, China and the EU. And we as Europeans want to ensure we can hold on in there, not that this is easy. Myself, I think the EU is the most complicated project in the world.”
When it came to the pupils having the opportunity to ask questions, many of these related to working in the diplomatic service. Bednar emphasised that, as a diplomat, one continues to represent one’s home country even when not at work. “This means that, even in a pub where no-one knows you, it is not a good thing to drink to excess,” he joked.  

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