Friday, 25 April 2014

ForMin praises PM's words on Sudeten Germans in Bavaria

ČTK |
22 February 2013

Prague/Munich, Germany, Feb 21 (CTK) - Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) praised the speech Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) Thursday made in the Bavarian parliament, in which Necas regretted the wrongs caused by the postwar transfer of Sudeten Germans.

"I must congratulate the prime minister on his speech in Munich. It is a really big breakthrough. After 23 years, all obstacles in our relations with the neighbouring Bavaria have been removed," Schwarzenberg said.

Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy chairman Lubomir Zaoralek, who is the party's shadow foreign minister, said he respects Necas's speech as it is in line with the present development of the Czech-German relations.

But Zaoralek said it is unfortunate that Necas did not tell the lower house of Czech parliament and the CSSD of his planned speech in the Bavarian parliament in advance.

"The German-Czech relation seems so significant to me that it would have been good to tell the opposition about it," Zaoralek told CTK.

Necas reiterated a passage of the Czech-German Declaration from 1997 that concerned the expulsion and forced resettlement after World War Two.

"The Czech side regrets that, by the forcible expulsion and forced resettlement of Sudeten Germans from the former Czechoslovakia after the war as well as by the expropriation and deprivation of citizenship, much suffering and injustice was inflicted upon innocent people, also in view of the fact that guilt was attributed collectively," Necas said, citing Article III of the declaration.

The declaration, in which the two countries pledged not to burden bilateral relations with controversial issues from the past and focus on future cooperation instead, was signed by then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and then Czech PM Vaclav Klaus.

In his speech, Necas also resolutely rejected a possible restoration of the pre-war property situation in the Czech borderland.

Schwarzenberg pointed out that the invitation of Necas to the Bavarian parliament was an honour.

He noted that the Bavarian parliament applauded Necas's words very much and that German and Bavarian media strongly welcomed them, too.

On the contrary, the Czech Communist Party (junior opposition KSCM) strongly rejected Necas's speech. It indicated that Necas humiliated himself.

"The subservient attitude Petr Necas had during his visit to Bavaria only proves that he is incapable of performing of role of prime minister of a sovereign state of the European Union," KSCM leader Vojtech Filip said.

Filip said Bavaria should be visited by the governors of the neighbouring Czech regions rather than by the prime minister.

Similarly, Necas's speech was condemned as shocking and tragical by Petr Hajek, deputy head of President Vaclav Klaus's office.

Hajek, cited by Parlamentnilisty.cz, said Necas's words admit a possible return of property to Sudeten Germans.

Referring to Necas's speech, Hajek said "it is a basis which, combined with the Lisbon Treaty and the treacherously non-ratified 'Klaus's opt-out,' opens the door wide to the property claims raised by the deported Germans."

As a result of Necas's action, his "ODS is vacating its position of a defender of Czech national interests, as it has done in other areas. It amounts to selling out [values] in live transmission," Hajek said.

He alluded to the Czech opt-out from the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights that President Klaus set as a condition for him to sign the Lisbon Treaty in late 2009, citing his apprehensions of possible property claims raised by Sudeten Germans. The EU nodded to his demand but the opt-out has not been ratified yet.

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