Tuesday, 14 August 2018

LN: Pro-Czexit voices remind of federation split fans of 1992

18 July 2017

Prague, July 17 (CTK) - Recent unofficial but strong calls by a number of Czechs for the country to seek sovereignty in relation to the EU remind of the calls the Slovak promoters of the Czechoslovak federation's split made 25 years ago, Zbynek Petracek writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) today.

The smooth and cultivated division of Czechoslovakia's split as from January 1, 1993 has been considered an undisputable success in the post-1989 history of Czechs and Slovaks, Petracek writes.

Even those who dislike Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar, the then prime ministers of the Czech and Slovak parts of the federation, respectively, appreciate their merit in this respect, Petracek writes, adding that the split's upcoming 25th anniversary has gone rather unnoticed so far.

What was the key event that made the division of Czechoslovakia definitively inevitable after more than seven decades? Someone ascribe the key role to the outcome of the mid-1992 general election, while others ascribe it to the Klaus-Meciar first post-election meeting, Petracek writes.

However, the essential formal step in this direction was the declaration on the Slovak Republic's sovereignty that the Slovak National Council, representing Slovaks in Czechoslovak parliament, approved on July 17, 1992, Petracek writes.

The declaration was the real death toll of the joint state of Czechs and Slovaks. Three days later, Vaclav Havel resigned as Czechoslovak president and the division became a fait accompli, Petracek writes.

Now that 25 years have elapsed since the split, the impression arises from time to time that those past events between Prague and Bratislava tend to emotionally repeat between the EU and Prague (Bratislava, Warsaw, Budapest) now, he writes.

By no means can parallels be drawn between the recent events and those 25 years ago. Neither Czech nor Hungarian, Polish or Slovak political elites seek their country's withdrawal from the EU. Furthermore, nothing of the phenomena that currently jeopardise the EU's unity (uncontrolled migration, terrorism) is comparable to the phenomena that endangered Czechoslovakia's unity in 1992, Petracek writes.

In spite of all this, appeals - unofficial but strong - can be heard in the Czech Republic calling for its sovereignty towards Brussels, he writes.

He who reads such appeals on the Internet, for example, may state that a large number of Czechs do not differ from the majority of Slovaks and their calls for sovereignty towards Prague 25 years ago, and that the Czech position of that time - "may we get rid of the Slovak troublemakers soon" - is now espoused by many West Europeans in relation to the Czechs (Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians), Palata writes.

Once again, it must be stressed that the recent and the 25-year-old events are no parallels. Nevertheless, now and then, it is useful to take an empathic approach and look at oneself through the eyes of others, Petracek writes.

It seems to many Czechs that the EU Western leaders are arrogant to them as an underdeveloped Eastern nation. But honestly, the Slovaks, too, considered Czech leaders' statements and behaviour highly arrogant 25 years ago, Petracek concludes.

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