Czech Republic wants to be called Czechia
Twenty-three years after gaining independence, the Czech Republic is set to adopt an official short form of its name. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has applied to the UN for the country's name to be changed to Česko (in English: Czechia). Czech journalists take a favourable view of the move.
New name a good choice
The Czech government's introduction of an official short name is just what the country needs, the liberal business paper Hospodářské noviny writes in delight:
“Rare indeed are the occasions on which we can give a decision made by our politicians our unqualified praise. It's Christmas at Easter: the term 'Czechia' has been born. And we have every reason to be joyful. Since the division of Czechoslovakia the state has been known as the 'Czech Republic' in English, although the world wanted a one-word name. The alternatives weren't up to scratch. And bottles of Pilsner beer bore the paradoxical slogan: 'Brewed in Czech', which actually meant the beer was brewed in the Czech language. ... In German the word 'Tschechien' has long been in use, but not 'Tschechei', which was contaminated by Nazi brutality. What's more, 'Tschechien' is the perfect translation of 'Česko'. Now the state of emergency has also been lifted in the world's only truly international language: English.”
The world doesn't know our name anyway
The liberal daily Mladá fronta dnes questions tongue in cheek whether the new official name will really catch on:
“The row over the term 'Česko' was a big issue for many years, but then things settled down. The linguists and politicians must have realised that you can't actually force people to say Česko anyway. The athletes wore strips sporting the mindless term 'Czech'. … The reasons for Zaorálek's initiative are unclear. Perhaps he found the little signs he always sat behind which bore the wordy descriptive 'Czech Republic' odd. … In the end it doesn't matter: for one half of the world we will always remain 'Czechoslovakia' while the other will keep mixing us up with Chechnya.”