Czech Republic supportive of Slovakia' bid to join EU and NATO

02-03-2001

During talks in Prague on Thursday President Vaclav Havel and his Slovak counterpart Rudolf Schuster stated that their countries enjoyed a special relationship. The two neighboring states, which spent over 70 years in a federation and divorced amicably in 1993, are believed to have the closest bilateral relations in Europe. At present, the Czech Republic firmly supports Slovakia's bid to join the EU and NATO as soon as possible, both for political and economic reasons. After their divorce in 1993 the two countries set up a customs union in order to preserve favourable trading conditions. What would happen to it if one were to enter the EU ahead of the other? More from Daniela Lazarova.

According to the Czech Republic's chief envoy to Brussels Pavel Telicka, abolishing the customs union would havePavel TelickaPavel Telicka no impact on trade in the sphere of industry. Both the Czech Republic and Slovakia have association agreements with the EU which, regardless of the date of their entry, will create a free trade zone between the EU and associate members by January of next year. However this will not resolve the question of agricultural commodities. So is there any chance of the customs union being retained for this particular sphere of enterprise and how hard would it hit bilateral trade if not?

Another important issue discussed by the Czech and Slovak presidents was the question of retaining the relaxed border policy between the two countries, even if the Czech Republic were to enter the EU ahead of Slovakia. Pavel Telicka again :

02-03-2001