Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends: Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the important topics of today's conference.

It is a great honour for me and, please, accept my warmest greetings from the Czech Republic.

We, who feel ourselves to be part of a family in the broadest sense of the word, perceive very intensely a spirit of decline, of disintegration, which is taking over large parts of the world and is naturally visible even where there is a great variety of people, in Europe.

It is not only about ethnic, linguistic or religious diversity. Since ancient times, the relatively small Europe has played the role of a kind of container in which the streams of philosophical, scientific and artistic activities of the human spirit mix and literally come to a boil. The vapours that have been emerging from the mixing of these activities have the ability to spread rapidly and have also literally contained the poison of anti-human ideologies throughout the history of our continent.

Europe is also a laboratory of different models of state organization. These arrangements enable human togetherness and solidarity, on the one hand, and a varying degree of power over people, on the other. Beings living here stopped being called people, they stopped being men, women, old people and children; they became citizens. In doing so, Europeans moved from nature-given categories to a virtual, man-made category.

They moved away from the laws of the created world, by knowing which – thanks to the gift of reason – they could improve, facilitate and beautify their lives. They have moved from the clear awareness that there is a God who not only is the creator of natural laws but also loves man. Europeans have moved to the idea that everything is governed by human laws. The perception of the vertical and anything transcendental was excluded from practical social life and remained as a hobby for religious and philosophical people.

Let me show a current example from the field of human rights. At the beginning of this summer, the vote of 350 members of the European Parliament was enough to make the termination of the life of children in the mother's womb—i.e., artificial abortion—a human right. The resolution also envisages that this right is included in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In the same document where Article 2 talks about the right to life, the right to kill can be found. And the mother has the right to decide on the death of the unborn child.

Europe gradually stopped understanding human rights as taking hold of universally valid values. As an understanding of the truths that human society has understood and formulated within the positive line of its own history. Europe understood it –- it did not create it!

Let us return to the European laboratory of state arrangements. The deep and beautiful idea that citizens should participate in the leadership of the state, the idea of democracy, could go –- and so it did go –- in several ways.

One path led through attention to the individual to the adoration of individuality to the absolutization of freedoms. It eventually turned into a cult of selfishness and an ideology that relativizes truth, justice, and ultimately good and evil.

The second way is the way of mediocrity: When citizens express their will in elections, they do not choose the best (aristoi in Greek; that was the original idea of the model of the aristocratic organization of the state) but those who are most similar to them and have the same weaknesses as they have. That is the current state, in my opinion. We look in vain for great statesmen.

The third model is totalitarianism: Freedom of thought, belief, speech and religion is suddenly considered unnecessary and even dangerous. Opinions and positions that are correct will be declared, and all other opinions and expressions will suffer for a while and in difficult situations – this is how Europe lives now – will be banned under sanctions.

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe experienced totalitarianism twice in one century. After six years of the terror of National Socialism came the socialist model of democracy that was totalitarian. These experiences became part of the ancestral memory of Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians and others. These nations also experienced the doctrine of practical internationalism. Healthy patriotism was forbidden; we were to become a mass looking up to the ideas of Marxism and Leninism.

From a geopolitical point of view, this is a complex and interesting problem. I myself live in a country whose borders have been clear for many centuries. We never doubted from where and to where Bohemia and Moravia reached. Our patriotism is connected to our lands; we bear responsibility for the language, which is part of the cultural treasure of humanity; and we understand the concept that a Czech is a person who masters our language and feels at home in our country. It is not important that he is Vietnamese or Ukrainian. In other post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the situation is significantly different. The Czech perception of Central Europe extends to the Adriatic and the Balkans. We have a very stable sense of belonging to the nations that lived in the Habsburg Monarchy. Many of us also perceive the historical task of the Central European countries: to be a welcoming and understanding bridge between the West and the East.

Ladies and gentlemen, please consider my speech as an open confession of a Catholic who loves her family, her homeland, who loves Europe and feels part of the large human family. I do not see a fundamental contradiction between liberal democracy and national patriotism in Europe. A sense of European land patriotism is unfortunately exactly what Europe lacks. It's not about nationalism. It is about the awareness of responsibility for a part of planet Earth and for the society that inhabits it, for all the gifts of nature from minerals to waters, forests and all living nature. A deep sense of responsibility for the spiritual culture and for the families and the whole community that lives in Europe.

Today, liberal democracy is threatened by totalitarian tendencies that, paradoxically, are born in itself. It is true that we, the people of post-communist countries, see the signs of totalitarianism more clearly.

Perhaps also because our two great hopes are still fresh. The first hope is as old as Christ – it is the thirty-three years old (the revolutions in post-communist countries which took place in 1989). The second hope has reached the age of maturity (we have been in the EU for 18 years now). At the age of 33, hate won over love and Christ was made a sacrifice – even for us who are currently attending the conference – and was crucified. At the age of 18, a person reaches adulthood and bears the full responsibility for his decisions. He or she is tasked with being mature and prudent.

Therefore, our fears about negative tendencies are stronger. We see that it is not just about basic freedoms, but about man as such. We mostly understand very well that there is an external threat, that our material certainties are no longer certainties, that we cannot print water, air, or living nature on a 3D printer.

However, we also understand that the Cold War is very dangerous, that it is a tightrope walk, and that the risk is greater because the people who experienced the last war are already 90 years old, and for those who make political and economic decisions today, “war” is a word of which they have only a vague idea of its true content.

We understand that interpersonal cohesion is a fundamental value. It doesn't exist if we don't invest heart, compassion, but also a willingness to sacrifice. This is indeed the highest proof of human freedom.

We are not nationalists with centrifugal tendencies toward the EU, but we do not want the basic freedoms of citizens and people to be sacrificed under the influence of fear of any threat. We don't want anything inhuman to be proclaimed as freedom.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a member of Parliament, but I have not given you any official positions of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. These are the conclusions of a woman who, at the age of 68, believes that evil should be named and the ideals of humanity that God has placed in us should be fulfilled.

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