The Slovak Example

Of the three multiethnic countries that dissolved in the aftermath of the Cold War, Czechoslovakia fared the best. The two successor states suffered none of the violence, economic catastrophe, or political discord that Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union experienced. Indeed, the relations between Prague and Bratislava are probably better now than they’ve ever been.

The Czech Republic continues to attract the lion’s share of tourism and economic investments. But Slovakia is in some ways a more appealing model for newly democratizing nations around the world. For one thing, it had to establish an identity as a new country rather quickly. For another, Slovak citizens had to mount a second “velvet revolution” to battle an authoritarian prime minister who took power practically from the beginning of the new country’s existence.

Pavol Demes was a minister of foreign relations for Slovakia when it was still in Czechoslovakia and then served as a foreign policy advisor to the Slovak president from 1993 to 1997. “Slovaks were from the very beginning often accused by the international community of being nationalists, like those Yugoslav people who were fueling nationalism,” Demes told me in an interview in Bratislava in February. “People were worried that we would be another source of destabilization in the region. This was just not true. My job, as a minister, was to explain that this had nothing to do with ethnic hatred and that we would find a civilized way of resolving political debates over the future of Czecho-Slovakia.”

One of his first tasks was to begin changing the image of Slovakia in the world. “One of the serious problems was that Slovaks and their history were much less known than the larger and better-known Czechs,” he continued. “When I assumed my ministerial position in 1992, there was not a single short history of Slovakia in English that I could pass on to foreign partners or audiences. When I traveled abroad, I always had to answer the question, ‘Who are you? What do the Slovaks want?’ So I opened a national competition for the best short history of Slovakia. Twenty pages in five weeks. Several historians said that this was a crazy task.” However, by offering the prize of access to the newly opened Vatican archives, the competition produced a winner.

Describing the location, history, and culture of Slovakia was just the first step. Many foreigners have been intrigued with the more recent political history of the country.

“Many people from transitional countries came to Slovakia to learn from our experience, and our activists are often invited abroad,” Demes explained. “In the last two years, I was invited to do a training in civic organizing in Arab countries. I am learning how to speak to people living beyond the paradigm of European enlargement. We need to learn how to tell people why they should do something or not. What is moral in politics and what is not? I hate to use the term ‘exporting models,’ because it is total nonsense. You can share and, if you are sensitive to their situation, they might adopt your suggestions.”

We talked about the mechanics of the Czecho-Slovak separation, the initial protocol mistakes that the new Slovak government made, and why the initial belief of so many Slovaks in the “end of history” thesis was wrong.

 

The Interview

 

 

Do you remember where you were and what you were thinking when you heard about the fall of the Berlin Wall?

 

Sure, I remember it quite vividly. I was here, in Bratislava, and for us it was still before the Velvet Revolution. We felt that after all the changes that had already occurred in Poland, change was now taking place even in East Germany. We had this feeling that, “How come that we in Czechoslovakia still are unable to get rid of authoritarianism?” Somehow it pushed us to be more imaginative, creative, and courageous. It pushed us to do something.

Changes that occurred in the former Eastern Bloc show that this was not an automatic, domino-like thing. Every country had to find within that year their own window of opportunity,   their own courage. For us in Czechoslovakia, our moment, our Velvet Revolution was the 17th of November. The tipping point was the student demonstration in Prague when young people just showed us that enough is enough. After that Romania still needed to fight, and it went through a very complicated bloody situation.

Even if you use the Berlin Wall as a symbol for the collapse of Communism, it was not automatic that Communist parties gave up in other countries. Here, we still needed to wait a little bit, but the 17th of November eventually came.

 

It was about a week after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Were you still here in Bratislava?

 

Yes, I was in Bratislava. We were very excited but still full of uncertainty because we didn’t know what to do. It was obvious that if the Berlin Wall fell, it would have geopolitical consequences, and it would only be a matter of time before something also happened in our country. But, as I said, we still needed to  get rid of Communism in our own way. The fall of the Wall was a powerful push that elevated courage in our society. It also showed that the Soviet Union was no more in full control, because this was basically a deal between the Soviet Union and the United States and West European leaders. Helmut Kohl and Mikhail Gorbachev are heroes of this process.

 

Do you remember what were the first steps for you personally after hearing about the fall of the Wall?

 

I organized together with a group of intellectuals for almost a decade before the Velvet Revolution at home a sort of quiet university. This was in my apartment, and we alternated space with friend of mine, Dusan Ondrusek who is now running Partners for Democratic Change. Once a month, we invited groups of intellectuals from various walks of life to discuss all kinds of important issues that couldn’t be talked about in public. On the 17th we met at the apartment of Sona Szomolanyi —she is now professor of political science at Comenius University—because she had a little larger apartment than ours. We invited a couple of people who eventually became key leaders of the Velvet Revolution:, Fedor Gal, Jan Budaj, Martin Butora Ladislav Kovac, and a bunch of others. While we were in the living room discussing what was going on, Sona’s daughter suddenly came in and said that in Prague, police had attacked a student peaceful demonstration. And the rumor was that one of the students had been killed.

We immediately said, “This is enough!” We decided that the next day we would start putting candles in the main square here in Bratislava. Even then we thought that putting candles in an outdoor space as a protest was a sign of huge bravery. We were proud of ourselves that we agreed to do this. But then the spiral of events took off, and dissatisfaction with the regime grew. I then became part of the group of people who contributed to changes in Czechoslovakia — or, in this case, Slovakia. Many people think that things were orchestrated from Prague, but the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia had two nuclei. One was in Prague and the second was in Bratislava. The Civic Forum was created in the Czech Republic with several main faces: Václav Havel, Jiri Dienstbier, and others. Here in Bratislava, Public against Violence emerged with figures like Jan Budaj, Milan Kňažko, and many others. Dialogue between the two then eventually led to the collapse of Communist Party and change.

 

Was there a moment in your life when you took that step into dissidence?

 

I was scientist before the Velvet Revolution. I was biomedical scientist at medical school in Bratislava, so I was not part of the political dissident movement. But I was among those who tried to protest their own way. Among other things, as I mentioned, I was organizing for a decade a quiet home university. This was my part of the rebellion.

But as far as my political transformation, the Velvet Revolution was a period when I felt that science, which I loved, was not the only way. I thought, “Now it’s time that I have to do some public service.” There is one man who particularly influenced me, and this was Professor Ladislav Kovac, who is a biochemist and now a professor emeritus here at Comenius University. Ladislav Kovac and I met in Prague, where I studied at Charles University. He used to study there as well. After 1968, he was kicked out of university because of his position against the Soviet invasion. He’s one of the smartest men in our country. When he came and gave lectures in Prague, as we strolled in the Old Town, we dreamed that one day we would have space to develop free universities and education, and science. We very much wanted one day to live in that type of environment, but we didn’t believe that it would come.

Then, when it came, the students asked Professor Kovac to become the minister of education.   Subsequently, he called me and said: “The time has arrived for what we were discussing in Prague. I am now the minister. Come.” So I became director of the department for international relations, and I was in charge of opening the Slovak educational system toward the West, which I did with my team with great enthusiasm.  All my passion for civil society emerged then. I discovered that in the West, particularly in the United States, there are not only governmental programs but also multiple private initiatives in education. We started to establish the first grassroots movements and active civil society, I hired an American historian who was here as a Fulbright scholar, David Daniel, as my advisor. It was shocking that he was not allowed to enter the building, because based on the regulations foreigners could not enter without some special permission — even though we’d had a revolutionary power shift. I had to push the personnel department to allow this guy to enter the building.  David Daniel was helping me with reforms and opening our system towards the West.

For the first time, we were sending students to the United States. People couldn’t even cross the Danube River and go to Austria, and now we organized the first bus to take students to Vienna University. This was a fascinating period that then inhibited my going back to science. Originally, I thought I would be engaged for a year or so in the ministry, and then I would go back. But it completely changed my life. For many people of my generation, if you ask them for their CV, it is usually divided between what they were doing before revolution and after. And I’m one of those post- revolutionary artifacts.

 

Much of what we in America learn about 1968 is centered on Prague and the memories of those who lived through it in Prague. What was the impact here in Bratislava? Did it have the same kind of impact on intellectuals?

 

I was 12, when the Russians invaded us in 1968. I lived in a small town of 5,000 people. One day the tanks came through, and we thought that this was war. Then the authorities tried to manipulate us into thinking that this was international assistance. 1968 produced a profound shift in my understanding of the nature of the system in which we live. It was not only our own Communist Party and all these stupidities, regulations, oppression. It was also the consequences of this process called “normalization,” which meant that anybody who was against the Soviet invasion was fired or displaced and then punished. The years after 1968 caused enormous harm to people’s belief in justice and fairness, and all this “normalization” led to a totally abnormal situation.

It was much better described and understood in the Czech Republic than in Slovakia, because they had people like Havel who knew how to write. Havel was a “drama man.” He knew how to frame things and share them with audiences. Since he was playwright, he was capable of traversing this cross-section of politics and art. That is why the Czech story is more widely known. Plus, the Charter 77 movement was created in the Czech Republic, and it was better known internationally.

In Slovakia, there was another story, which is not known, and it involved the underground religious movements. We had two remarkable personalities. Silvester Krcmery and Vladimir Jukl. They were political prisoners in the 1950s, spending 14 years and enduring torture in a very brutal prison. After they were released from prison they organized a faith-based underground movement at the universities and through this basically developed the foundation for our own protest. During Easter in 1988, the year before the Velvet Revolution, there was a candlelight demonstration on Easter Friday. This was not openly anti-Communist. People just came with candles to request more religious freedom. But the regime was already so paranoid and nervous that they used water cannons to brutally disperse the demonstrators. This was first large-scale anti-regime movement in Czechoslovakia. We will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of this event in March.

 

Will it be recognized here as well as in the Czech Republic, since it was after all Czechoslovakia?

 

It will be recognized mostly here. Czechoslovakia was always a composite of two states. You couldn’t expect anything anti-regime to develop on such a scale and on a religious basis in the Czech Republic. Unlike the Czech Republic, Slovakia is quite a religious country. Czechs and Belgians are probably the two most atheist nations within the European Union. Slovakia is close to Poland as far as the religious beliefs of the people.

These two men created an underground church, and through this underground church, an underground movement in which lay people started a protest movement. There is a book written by Silvester Krcmery was a physician, and Jukl was a physicist and mathematician. Then Jukl also became a priest, but this was sort of hidden, not publicly known. And Krcmery wrote a very interesting book — What Saved Us? — in which he describes the nature of the Communist prisons that he went through. As a physician, he was able to describe it in a way quite similar to Viktor Frankl when he experimented on himself in Auschwitz. He not only described the nature of Communist prisons but also how and what he did in order to maintain his sanity, which allowed him to survive.

In the Czech Republic, Charter 77 is better known because many of the members were writers and philosophers, and they could explain it to the outside world. What went on in Slovakia was not so well known, but we definitely had a protest movement as well and this is something that needs to be discovered and properly described.

 

You’ve said that the Czech Republic and Slovakia were always two basically separate entities with separate cultures. After the revolution, was there a moment when you realized that this entity Czechoslovakia was not going to survive as a federation?

 

Czechoslovakia was created after the end of the First World War out of two very close nations. Mentally, psychologically, culturally, we are very close and helped each other. During the Second World War, because of Hitler, not because of our own will, we were separated for a while. But after the war Czechoslovakia was recreated. Very few people, for example, know that we never had a federal ministry of culture or of education. We never had a federal daily, just Czech dailies and Slovak dailies. On television there were Czech and Slovak moderators. The languages are very close. We understood each other, so this was not a problem. But from the point of view of culture, education, and print, we were separate. Plus, the border was clearly delineated.

After I worked in the ministry of education, the Slovak government collapsed and Meciar became prime minister. I was brought in to become minister in charge of international relations. We had a federal foreign ministry as well as republic ministries of international relations. I belonged among those who thought that there was chance to keep Czechoslovakia together, and this would be advantageous. So I was negotiating a lot with federal minister Jiri Dienstbier and others on how to divide roles in foreign policy. There were no forbidden themes, and there were many political debates about the philosophy of state, the nature of government, the nature of subsidiarity. Relatively soon it became obvious that these two entities have profoundly different opinions on the nature of the common state and the division of power between the republics and the federation.

It became more and more clear that it would be very difficult to keep the country together. I’m strongly against the notion that Slovaks detached themselves from Czechs. This was a 50/50 political deal. There was no referendum. Politicians in the federal parliament came to a conclusion to end the disputes, which could eventually lead to all kinds of turbulences, through a peaceful division of the state. In our case—unlike Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union where ethnic hatred and memories of the past were painful and bloody—we never shed a single drop of blood or had any hostilities or ethnic rivalries. We just had very different notions of how we feel about the new democratic state. From the Velvet Revolution, we came to a “velvet divorce.”

I knew many of the people behind the revolution and the new government and also a little bit of their psychology. I’m not surprised at what Vaclav Klaus was doing at the end of his Czech presidency and how unpopular he became. Vaclav Klaus was always a rather egocentric person. He and Vladimir Meciar were the architects of the split. Meciar didn’t even come to the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Slovakia. He lives outside of Bratislava, and we are happy that we don’t need to see him any more in public. And Czechs soon will be happy that they will not have to see Vaclav Klaus any more. The two men are disliked by their respective citizens because they are in a way quite similar.

 

Is there any small part of your mind that regrets the split?

 

Not really. I studied in Prague. I’m a graduate of Charles University, and for me Prague is one of the three most beautiful European capitals, along with Rome and Paris. My son studies now in Prague. Thousands of Slovaks study and work there, because it’s just a very close, pleasant city. On February 21, I’m invited to the former federal now Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs where I will be moderating the opening panel on 20 years of independent Czech and Slovak foreign policy. I feel privileged to be invited by foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg. We will be remembering what we went through and where are we now. But all in all, I belong among the majority of people who believe that it was an important and inevitable step to avoid potential conflicts. Relations between Czechs and Slovaks have never been better than they are now. Europe would look much different if relationships among members were as good as those between Czechs and Slovaks, both on a people-to-people level and a political level.

At New Year’s, the prime ministers of the two countries held a joint press appearance, wishing peoples of their nations all the best, looking at last year, and looking ahead. It’s unthinkable that two Balkan or former Soviet presidents or prime ministers would go on the air and in full harmony analyze what went on and where they are going. This was one of those historically unexpected moments that turned potentially problematic relations into something that people just feel good about.

 

One of the dramatic aspects of the implementation of policy after the Velvet Revolution was, of course, Havel’s vision of a moral foreign policy. I know that there were some negative consequences of that here, in terms of the closing of munitions factories, but I’m curious initially what the response was in terms of implementing this vision from this side.

 

Václav Havel was a remarkable personality. He will be remembered as a great figure of not only post-Communist Europe, but globally. He was a very atypical politician. He even had trouble sometimes being called a politician, because he was never a member of a political party, even after the change. He was able to make mistakes, because he was not worried whether he would lose. For him, it was almost like a natural entry from his previous dissident into governmental life, where he was full of uncertainties and questions. But at the same time, he was highly creative. Many of his key speeches he wrote himself. There are very few people in high politics who are able to do that.

I was privileged to be part of the small group that accompanied Havel on his first official visit to the United States in 1991, during the administration of George Bush Sr. I saw how Americans admired Havel. At Blair House, he had to run outside and smoke, and the security people were running after him not knowing what to do.

After the split, I became foreign policy advisor to our first president Michal Kováč, and I was meeting Václav Havel regularly at all kinds of international meetings. He never came for an official visit to Slovakia, even though we were so close. For him, shaking hands with Prime Minister Meciar wouldn’t work.  We met him either during unofficial visits or at all kinds of summits abroad.

President Havel was a unique politician who deeply cared about Slovakia and throughout the years was supportive of democratic forces here. When we had a tough time between 1993 and 1998, he spoke often about how robust and courageous was the civil society that we had.  He was not bitter after Czechoslovakia split. When he passed away, there was an enormous emotional reaction in Slovakia , with many nice articles written about him. He remains a positive figure in the memory of the vast majority of Slovaks.

Our part of the world produced four great political personalities: Dubček, Gorbachev, Wałęsa, and Havel. Václav Havel was probably the most gifted at explaining what he thinks, what he does, why he does it. His morally principled position often was illogical from a political point of view, but big political leaders sometimes are like this — doing things that contemporary politicians think are just crazy.

Before he died, he was able to finish his film, Odchazeni (Leaving). This was his last act, which was also his goodbye to life, a life that was just remarkable.

 

I want to follow up in terms of your own experience in the foreign ministry. Can you give examples of the challenge of reconciling the impulse to have moral principles in foreign policy and the need to be pragmatic?

 

When I was minister of international relations, the office was not yet fully fledged. It was just a small governmental body with about 50 people, which I was able to increase to about 100 in a year. At that moment we had to begin building the infrastructure, the hardware and the software, of Slovak foreign politics. The other day there was a conference called “Twenty Years of Slovak Foreign Policy.” The question was asked: “What kind of mistakes did you make?” And the former foreign ministers had trouble answering that question. I said, “I can tell you what kind of mistakes we made, because I like to remember mistakes.” When I became minister, I was 35. I’d never read any book on government. Many of us just entered public life, and we had to learn by doing. We tried to do our best. The principles of morality and fairness and learning from others were part of our job. There was no precedent to many of the things we were doing.

I remember vividly the first high-level foreign visit to Bratislava I had to organize. It was from Prince Charles and Princess Diana, a week after I was sworn in. We never had an official royal visit to the Slovak republic after 1989. I had to call Prague and consult royal protocol. They explained to me, and then I had to explain it to my government colleagues. One thing they told me was: don’t kiss her hand, just bow. I explained to the cabinet before we had the state dinner. But when they saw this beautiful princess, it was like a fairy tale, and, well, she had to go through a kissing assembly line!

We had a tradition that when governmental leaders landed in Prague, we tried to bring them to Bratislava to show that Czechoslovakia consists of two republics. So we organized Boris Yeltsin’s visit, when he was in Prague, to Bratislava. We were waiting at the airport with the deputy speaker of parliament, and we were supposed to bring him to Bratislava Castle. So, we were standing there, and we saw this big plane arrive at the small airport. But it was 30 minutes early, so we didn’t think that this was Yeltsin. But the plane lands and we see Russian letters, and we said, “My God, this must be Yeltsin.” The soldiers are running like crazy with the red carpet, and we are running also.

So, Yeltsin arrives earlier. And we have to bring him to meet the prime minister. But Prime Minister Carnogursky still had some other meeting. I called, and protocol said, “Make it as slow as possible.” With Alexander Korzhakov, the head of Yeltsin’s security, sitting next to me, I command the leader of the motorcade to go as slowly as possible. We went like a funeral procession, and he was yelling, “What kind of security is this?!”

People accused us quite often of being “Slovak separatists” who didn’t pay enough respect to federal bodies. Several personalities came here from smaller units of larger states. For instance, we had the prime minister of Bavaria. It’s a state of Germany that has its own prime minister, its own symbols. When he came, there was a protest from Prague that we were not using the German flag in front of building where we had official dinner. I had to respond by saying, “We have only three poles in front of that building. We used the Bavarian, Slovak, and Czechoslovak flags. Which one would you replace with the German flag?”

Slovaks were from the very beginning often accused by the international community of being nationalists, like those Yugoslav people who were fueling nationalism. People were worried that we would be another source of destabilization in the region. This was just not true. My job, as a minister, was to explain that this had nothing to do with ethnic hatred and that we would find a civilized way of resolving political debates over the future of Czecho-Slovakia. .

One of the serious problems was that Slovaks and their history were much less known than the larger and better-known Czechs. When I assumed my ministerial position in 1992, there was not a single short history of Slovakia in English that I could pass on to foreign partners or audiences. When I traveled abroad, I always had to answer the question, “Who are you? What do the Slovaks want?” So I opened a national competition for the best short history of Slovakia. Twenty pages in five weeks. Several historians said that this was a crazy task. I created a committee not of historians but public figures, intellectuals. I knew that people would not do it simply out of patriotic feeling. At that time, the Vatican archives (the dream for any historian) were opened for the first time to historians. So I arranged that the first prize would be one week in the Vatican archives (the second and third prizes were monetary).  Eventually Lubomir Liptak, who was a well-known historian, won the prize. We quickly translated his essay into English. It helped us to prove wrong those people who just thought of us as strange people who insisted on the hyphen in Czecho-Slovakia and gave President Havel such a hard time.

Your question about the issue of morality in foreign policy was surely a key issue for us. We wanted to develop international relations to get back to Europe. Going back to Europe meant becoming a civilized, open, democratic society, a place with no borders where we could travel and share, and where our students could study. Of course, we never thought that we would have a prime minister like Vladimir Meciar, who was a very abnormal personality and an abnormal politician. But again, it probably was necessary, for our maturation process, to deal with him and in 1998, through an open democratic process, to say goodbye to him. This was like a second Velvet Revolution, which then opened the space for accelerated reforms that eventually brought us into the EU in 2004, together with the Czechs on the very same day. .

I was never a member of a political party, even when I was in government. I got in mostly as an expert. But my main passion was civil society development and developing this broader infrastructure for freedom. This is still so critical, namely now, when the EU is going through second thoughts about its model.

Because of our particular road, we are more sensitive about assisting others who are struggling. We’ve worked a lot in the Balkans. We are helping people east of us: in Belarus, Ukraine, and so on. It paid off that we went through our own transitional struggles. Whenever you have these ups and downs, when some politicians try to concentrate or misuse power, the sensitivity of Slovak citizens and civil society actors is quite high about misconducts by holders of power.

 

You’ve talked about the importance of this Slovak experience of struggling for democracy in the 1990s. Can you give me an example of how you translated that to another country, and the kind of response you got? And when you think back to the 1990s, has there been any major rethinking in your principles or your positions from that period?

 

I suggest you read the book I co-edited with my colleague, Joerg Forbrig, and to which I contributed. It’s called Reclaiming Democracy. You can download it free from the Internet. It’s the story of five countries: Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine. An author from each of these countries describes their struggle against neo-authoritarianism, which emerged in the post-1989 period. You will see very clearly how Slovak activists were able to bring practical lessons to these post-communist countries. That book is now used by several universities abroad, and also Timothy Garton Ash invited me to Oxford to talk about it. The book was already translated into Azeri, Arabic, and  Albanian and shows that  it is still inspirational, and people are trying to understand the practical aspects of influencing the political process through civic engagement. This is a big topic that we are still struggling with and not only in less democratic countries but nowadays more and more even in the United States and European Union where people are also thinking how to engage citizens in public life. That book will tell you that what we’ve been doing—training others, encouraging them, giving them some ideas on how to influence the political process.

Many people from transitional countries came to Slovakia to learn from our experience, and our activists are often invited abroad. In the last two years, I was invited to do a training in civic organizing in Arab countries. I am learning how to speak to people living beyond the paradigm of European enlargement. We need to learn how to tell people why they should do something or not. What is moral in politics and what is not? I hate to use the term “exporting models,” because it is total nonsense. You can share and, if you are sensitive to their situation, they might adopt your suggestions.

Here I connect this with your second question related to the early 1990s and belief system. I am privileged that I lived through the transition in my country. And the change in my homeland changed my life and my attitudes, created in me a feeling of responsibility for the environment that I can change. We didn’t have that feeling before 1989, because it was a static system. However, we discovered that we were naïve, particularly about two things. We thought that political competition among various parties and groups would generate quality politics. Second, we believed that the free market would generate fairness in the economy. It did not work that way yet. We also had not expected that the United States and European Union could have crises. We believed in this end-of-history politics—which is just wrong.

We live in very paradoxical times now. There is growing disbelief in the Western model. The dissatisfaction of people with corruption in politics and in business is reaching alarming levels. Today, if you ask, “What is the lowest trusted institution in this country?” it would be the judiciary. These are the people who should have the highest trust, because they tell you, “Guilty, not guilty, you’re free to go or you have to go to prison.” But these people are under the influence of politics and business. And procedures have been created that you cannot cut through even if you have a free media, because they will try to find a way of controlling the media.

So, our post-1989 beliefs were simply undermined. But I’m not discouraged. What I gained after 1989 is this feeling that you can change things, but you need to effectively organize. Just as the collapse of Communism was unprecedented and unexpected, also the subsequent political evolution was unprecedented, and many unexpected phenomena occurred.

Since we have space for free action and influence, we should use it. With all the communication tools and technologies that we have, if we want to be faithful to the Velvet Revolution and its ideals, we have the chance and we shouldn’t be discouraged. We shouldn’t be down and say that, “Okay, nothing has changed.” I think that it’s just simply wrong. People in Europe have enormous space. I’ve been dealing with countries like the western Balkans, Belarus, Ukraine, and the Arab world. Compared to them, Slovakia and whole EU is an oasis of freedom and prosperity.

 

Bratislava, February 11, 2013

 

 


1 Comment

  1. RadicalCentrist

    To the Czech and Slovak peoples I say “well done!”. These two republics are truly the heart of the EU.

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