Karel Schwarzenberg

    is a Czech politician, leader of the political party TOP 09 and member of the Czech Parliament. A descendant of the old aristocratic House of Schwarzenberg, he spent years in Austrian exile, where he supported Czechoslovakia’s opposition and was actively involved in human rights, acting as Chair of the International Helsinki Federation.. On his return to Czechoslovakia in 1990 he became Chief of Staff and later Chancellor to President Vaclav Havel. From 2007 to 2009 he served as Foreign Secretary of the Czech Republic; he held this office, as well as that of Deputy Prime Minister, from 2010 to 2013. “A blind trust in legislation is an eternal illusion of all legislators who believe that laws can replace ethical principles. For if you’re clever, you can get around every decree, every law, as we have seen demonstrated a few times. The more complex and refined the system, the easier it is for clever people to get around it. The crisis is upon us and we have to be prepared for other crises to follow. We have to realize that our golden age, the pan-European golden age, is over. While in the 50s, 60s and 70s we could flatter ourselves that Europe was the world’s second greatest economic power, in the meantime European economy has started showing so many signs of ageing, of old-age senility and absence of new ideas that it is becoming obvious that we have started sliding down to the third, fourth or even the fifth rank in the global economy.”