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Czechs, Poles ten years on

Poland and the Czech Republic were isolated for 40 years by communism and have been separated since 1989 by old stereotypes. They may only come to regard each other as equals when they are both safely inside the EU

By Timothy Snyder   February 1999

A decade after Solidarity in Poland and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia helped to inaugurate a new European era, bureaucracy is about to catch up with history. In April, exactly ten years after the legalisation of the Solidarity trade union in Poland, Nato will expand to the east. Last November, the EU began negotiations which will bring about its own enlargement. Poles and Czechs, included in both enlargements, will tell you that they were in Europe all along. And there could be nothing more European than the mutual indifference-cum-hostility with which the two countries regard each other. A consideration of…

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