Antonín Švehla Year
First Vice Minister Vilém Žák, Director of the Agricultural Museum, Mrs. Eva Balaštíková, Madam Deputy Mayor Prague 15 Lucie Prinzová, President of the Antonín Švehla Society Pavel Černý, Secretary-General of the Union of European Federalists Ivo Kaplan, ladies and gentlemen,
I am honored to be here tonight to take part in the ceremonial opening of the Antonín Švehla year. Antonín Švehla played a crucial role in engineering the political compromises that allowed democracy to function and develop during the First Czechoslovak Republic. According to a research study, Antonín Švehla, along with President Masaryk himself, played a greater role than any other politician in making Czechoslovak democracy work. Švehla is said to have perfected the art of the possible during the transitional and potentially turbulent interwar period.
Antonín Švehla was among the distinctive politicians in Europe who headed an agrarian movement. He was among the driving forces in establishing the International Agrarian Bureau - the Green International - with headquarters in Prague. The Green International defined itself as a center for exchange of experiences, moral reinforcement and solidarity with peasants and agrarian parties; and an international force against governments that were considered adverse to agrarian interests. Švehla had help and support from Norway along the way, not least in establishing the Green International in Prague.
There is no doubt many fewer farmers today than when the agrarian movements were at their peak. But many people who are not farmers themselves nevertheless share basic agrarian and green values.
As one of the most important political leaders of the First Czechoslovak Republic; Antonín Švehla would no doubt have agreed that Europe still needs a green ideology and increased cooperation between farmers and industry workers, in line with his famous Pětka slogan "We have agreed that we will agree."
As one of the most important political leaders of the First Czechoslovak Republic, and in line with his famous Pětka slogan "We have agreed that we will agree", Antonín Švehla would no doubt have agreed that Europe still needs a green ideology, basic agrarian values and increased cooperation.