No. XVI Ana de Palacio, Spain

Anniversaries are always a good moment for reflection. This 50th Anniversary of the crushing of the Prague Spring is a particularly poignant one.  The invasion of Czechoslovakia by members of the Warsaw Pact was one of those moments, like Hungary before it and Afghanistan a decade later, that laid bare the ugly face of the forces aligned against freedom and human dignity. It showed clearly the stakes and nature of the struggle for a free world. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the global spread of liberal democracy we thought that this struggle was past. But the events of these last years have shown that there can never be complacency and that the fight to entrench liberty and choice cannot be let up. And so today as we think back on what happened then and there let us reinvigorate our efforts to preserve and deepen our freedoms. As we saw in the 20th Century it is a difficult road, but one that must be taken.

Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain