Hungary and Slovakia at odds over expulsions
The Beneš Decrees with which the then Czechoslovakia expropriated and expelled Hungarians and others from its territory after the Second World War have led to another diplomatic crisis between Budapest and Bratislava. At a memorial for displaced persons in the Slovakian town of Šamorín, the Hungarian parliamentary speaker László Kövér demanded an apology from Slovakia. Slovakian Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok has rejected any foreign interference.
No alternative to confronting the past
For Új Szó, a Hungarian-language daily appearing in southern Slovakia - it's clear that Slovakia must apologise for the decrees that are still in force:
“As far as an apology is concerned, László Kövér is right. Slovakia should have apologised long ago. It costs nothing and would be an important gesture. The fact that the Slovak parliament has not brought itself to do this since 1993 points solely to the pettiness of the country's leaders. Sooner or later Slovakia must come to terms with the legacy of the Beneš Decrees, no matter how difficult that is.”
Will we ever lay a wreath together?
By adopting the destructive strategies of its neighbouring country Slovakia is certainly not improving the situation, Népszava criticises:
“The Orbán government has been demanding more respect for years, sometimes from Europe, sometimes from a neighbouring country. But can you get respect if you don't show respect for others? ... Slovakia's foreign ministry has now turned Budapest's favourite weapon against Hungary by also demanding more respect. Under such circumstances and with this kind of political leadership, will we ever reach the point where a joint wreath-laying ceremony can take place?”
Still no sign of sincere regret
It's not as if there were no models for bilateral reconciliation, Pravda notes:
“What is missing here is a mutual agreement similar to the one reached by the Czech Republic and Germany in 1997, in which the Germans admitted their guilt and responsibility for the consequences of Nazi policies, while the Czech Republic apologised for the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia. ... Unfortunately, only one politician on our side has been advocating reconciliation for years. The former speaker of the Slovak National Council František Mikloško personally apologised to the Hungarians living in Slovakia in 2005. The bishops also asked for forgiveness. But sincere regret on the part of both states is lacking.”