Czechoslovakia ceased to exist 25 years ago
A quarter of a century ago the Czechs and the Slovakians came to a peaceful agreement to go their separate ways. Although a majority of the people living in Czechoslovakia at the time were against the division, then prime ministers Klaus and Mečiar finalised it on August 26, 1992 in the garden of Villa Tugendhat in Brno. Commentators take stock of the separation 25 years on.
There were no real winners at the time
With hindsight there is little good to be said about the division of Czechoslovakia, Sme believes:
“Notwithstanding the tensions that were growing in both parts of the country, the majority of the population was in favour of a joint state and viewed its division as senseless. Klaus and Mečiar legitimated the idea of division, however, on the basis of elections that brought them to power - but without a mandate for dividing the country. ... Today Slovakia is a member of the EU, Nato and the Eurozone and can compare itself with the Czech Republic. Nevertheless 25 years ago Mečiar and Klaus forfeited a state characterised by decency, freedom, justice and equality. They didn't create a border between two countries, but between the privileged who benefited from whatever transpired and the rest of the people who had to pay for the advantages of the former.”
Slovakia has fared better than the Czech Republic
The public broadcaster Český rozhlas compares the fates of Czechoslovakia's two successor states:
“It wasn't so long ago that the EU saw the Czech Republic as the 'most reasonable country' in Central Eastern Europe. Now Slovakia has taken over this role, while the Czech Republic is losing influence. Bratislava made a good name for itself during its EU presidency in the second half of last year. Unlike its regional partners, it wants to stand alongside Germany and France. ... Prague doesn't want to occupy a peripheral position in the EU either. Nevertheless, that's exactly where some of its steps have taken it. Slovakia, by contrast, enjoys respect from all sides and all doors are open to Prime Minister Fico, who has become the 'darling' of the EU. Now the ball is in the Czechs' court.”