Czech Strategic Partnerships: A Practice in Need of a Vision

The concept of a strategic partnership is gaining prominence in Czech diplomatic practice, but its meaning and implications remain inadequately understood. The policy paper seeks to redress the situation by unpacking the concept and building a framework for understanding strategic partnerships in the Czech context. It argues that while it is not necessary to construct a rigorous definition, more coherence and clarity is needed for strategic partnerships to serve as a meaningful instrument of Czech foreign policy.

The notion of strategic partnerships, implying the deepest and most comprehensive framework of bilateral relations, has become increasingly prominent in Czech foreign policy discourse and diplomatic practice. The 2015 Foreign Policy Concept singles out Poland, Israel, South Korea and France as strategic partners. Germany falls into the same category, as expressed through the launch of the Strategic Dialogue in 2015. The United States is also referred to as a strategic partner, most recently in the Security Strategy. The past two years have seen a steady expansion of Czech strategic partnerships – both in numbers and scope – as well as a drive toward their institutionalization. It culminated – rather controversially – in the establishment of formal strategic partnerships with Azerbaijan in September 2015, and with China in March 2016...

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