Miroslav Kalousek was among the first to report the death of his friend and political teammate Karel Schwarzenberg.
In an interview for Nauzal, he recalls key meetings in the government benches and the life attitudes of a politician who has influenced domestic politics in recent decades.
Who was Karel Schwarzenberg for you?
One of the most important, inspiring and also kindest people in life.
We basically only knew each other formally until 2007, when we sat together in Topolánek’s government. The meeting order seated us next to each other, there we discovered that we had the same views, in contrast to our parties. He was there for the Green Party, I for KDU-ČSL. We didn’t always have the same views on our parties, but together we did. We also had a very similar sense of humor and became friends.
Due to our similar views and the different views of our parties, we sometimes talked about how nice it would be if we had our own political party. But it was always only in the role of such not very serious considerations. Until the moment when Jiří Paroubek overthrew Topolánek’s government in the middle of his presidency for absolutely senseless reasons and we suddenly had a lot of free time.
Sometimes I jokingly say that TOP 09 had three founders: Karel Schwarzenberg, Miroslav Kalousk and Jiří Paroubek. If he hadn’t done it, we would never have had time to establish TOP 09 and go to the elections with it in 2010.
Of course, each of us had a different task there, but I think we complemented each other wonderfully.
Karel Schwarzenberg died
A member of a famous noble family, he was born on December 10, 1937 in Prague, but spent a considerable part of his life in involuntary exile.
After returning after 1989, he worked as chancellor of Václav Havel, was a senator and foreign minister. He died on November 11, 2023 in Vienna.
He was a great moral role model. You could say he was at an age where he could be my father. I consulted with him sometimes anyway. He was simply a very close person to me in all respects.
Above all, I greatly admired his self-evident determination to serve his country completely selflessly. Few people are able to realize what Karel Schwarzenberg did for the Czech Republic.
I appreciate that Mirek Topolánek, who wrote in his book that he had more authority in Europe than he deserved, was aware of it thanks to Karl Schwarzenberg. After the death of Václav Havel, no one in the Czech Republic had such social capital in Europe, such contacts and such authority as Karel Schwarzenberg.
Often even to his own detriment, he gave everything to his country and took it for granted. He said, and he meant it dead serious, that one must serve. And he really served in the full sense of the word.
Have you talked to each other lately?
Since the spring, he was in the hospital quite often, we visited him there and talked on the phone. We last saw each other about three weeks ago. We also agreed that we would auction a lunch with Karl and Mirek for charity purposes in Ukraine. I then asked the winner-auctioneer to wait for Karel to recover. He won’t recover now.