A Noble Self-Sacrifice

Photo: Peter Župník

Dear Prime Minister Radičová,

You have taken the words out of my mouth when you told the [Czech Prime Minister] Petr Nečas in Brussels that “‚this is not how an honest and upright man behaves”‘, that is, first rushing into the EU and then beating a retreat as soon as problems arise. And you’’re also quite right to say that back in the days when Czechoslovakia split, our countries competed who would be the first to join the EU. In my country it was actually Václav Klaus himself who led this relay race and for a long time it seemed likely that the Czech Republic in his neo-liberal team colours would easily win the race. For in those days your country was ruled by the populist Mečiar whose main concern was to fan nationalist passions and use them to cement his own power. Fortunately, your electorate didn’’t buy it and made sure in the eleventh hour that Slovakia reached the gates of unified Europe at the same time with its Central European neighbours. We can thus hope that for Slovakia the baggage of resentful anti-European chauvinism has been but a children’’s disease. Whereas in my country, Madam Prime Minister, it seems to have become a rather prolonged illness. And who knows what further complications it might lead to. But this is not the only reason why we should envy Slovakia: in you, Madam Prime Minister, your country has a politician who stands by her word even at the risk of her own position. Show me the man who would do the same in your shoes?

Translation: Julia Sherwood
This column was published in all regional newspapers in the Czech Republic.