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5 March 2024

French president pays tribute to the victims of the shooting at the Faculty of Arts

A bouquet with the French tricolour was placed in front of the main building of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University by Emmanuel Macron. During his visit to Prague on Tuesday, 5 March, the French President paid tribute to the victims of the tragedy that took place at the Faculty last December. President Macron was accompanied to the building on Jan Palach Square by his Czech counterpart Petr Pavel. In front of the building, they had a short conversation with the Rector of Charles University Milena Králíčková and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts Eva Lehečková.

The commemorative meeting was held in front of the memorial plaque of Jan Palach, which is located on the building of the faculty. The French President expressed his condolences to the survivors of the shooting attack on 21 December last year. President Emmanuel Macron is known for being very keen to meet and discuss with university students. He was therefore deeply affected by this event, which is why he found time in his otherwise very busy schedule to stop by the Faculty of Arts of the Charles University during his one-day visit to Prague. In addition, President Macron also spoke about how close he is to the values that Jan Palach espoused. His visit to the Faculty of Arts of Charles University was all the more symbolic and was appreciated by the rctor of Charles University and the dean of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University.

"I appreciate the fact that the French president came to honour the memory of the victims of the tragedy from among our students and staff on the occasion of his visit to the Czech Republic and that we are commemorating them in this way again," Rector Milena Králíčková emphasised and recalled that she and the president had also briefly discussed the close relationship between Charles University and the Sorbonne.

Her words were also confirmed by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, Eva Lehečková. "For us it is also essential because the French language, literature and culture have been taught here for decades. Representatives of the field and the Institute of Romance Studies see this as proof that the president perceives the importance of the humanities and the long-standing Czech-French relations in various fields," the dean said.

President Macron arrived at the faculty accompanied by Czech President Petr Pavel, who had earlier received him at Prague Castle, where the statesmen discussed support for Ukraine and defence cooperation between European countries. President Petr Pavel also paid tribute to the memory of the victims, and in addition to the bouquet with the French tricolour, there is now also a bouquet with the Czech tricolour at the Faculty of Arts building.

From the building of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University on Jan Palach Square, the French delegation continued to the other side of the Vltava River for a working meeting with Prime Minister Petr Fiala. The meeting was to include a discussion on support for Ukraine and the signing of the Action Plan for the Strategic Partnership between the Czech Republic and France for the years 2024-2028, which links the two countries not only in strategic and defence matters, but also in the field of educational, linguistic and scientific relations.

The French President is not the only high-ranking world politician who came to pay tribute to the victims of the December tragedy at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University. This February, during her visit to Prague, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola also paid tribute to their memory right in front of the Faculty. The politician was accompanied to the faculty by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic Markéta Pekarová Adamová.

TEXT: Helena Zdráhalová

PHOTOS: Hynek Glos

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