In a letter titled “Reflections on the referendum on the membership of the UK in the EU in a letter intended to have been sent to a gentleman in Dorset” Czech ambassador to the UK Michael Žantovský speaks of the benefits – to both the UK and the rest of Europe – of the country remaining in the European Union.
Czech-born playwright Tom Stoppard, the “gentleman in Dorset” referred to in the title of the letter and its initial recipient, released it to the public after agreeing with its sentiments, according to a recent article in The Guardian.
An additional 30 prominent Czechs have signed the letter, including supermodel Eva Herzigová, Olympic gymnast Věra Čáslavská, conductors Jiři Bělohlávek and Jiří Pešek, and Prague archbishop Dominik Duka.
“Britain was one of the first EU countries to have opened its borders to Czech workers, students and entrepreneurs, with benefits shared on both sides,” Žantovský writes.
“Successive Czech governments shared the British ardour for free markets, open trade and international cooperation. Our troops served together in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and other places. The last 25 years of partnership and cooperation were among the best in the history of our two nations.”
Žantovský goes on to describe the negative implications a ‘Brexit’ would have on both the EU and the UK.
“Without the British legacy of democratic institutions, entrepreneurial spirit, common sense and pragmatic approach to problem-solving, the west as we know it would be much weakened, politically and spiritually.
“Britain, under the exit scenario, would fare no better. It would be stranded in the middle of the Atlantic, unable to draw on the synergies of the European project. It would be left alone to deal with the ever-present threats of nationalism, populist politics, migration issues and ethnic intolerance.
“Closing its doors to workers from the EU, it would have to look for manpower, most likely less qualified and less adaptable, in other parts of the world.”
The Daily Mail didn’t seem as receptive to the letter.
“Supermodel Eva Herzigova has become the latest foreign figure to lecture the British people over the EU referendum,” they wrote yesterday.
On June 23, UK citizens will vote on a referendum that will determine if the country remains in the EU.