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ForMin wants Hungary to explain words on Beneš decrees

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Prague, Dec 14 (CTK) – Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek has summoned the Hungarian ambassador for Tuesday to explain the words by Hungarian parliament head Laszlo Koever that the Czech Republic and Slovakia should not have joined the EU over the post-war Benes decrees, Zaoralek said on Monday.

The Benes decrees provided for the confiscation of the property of collaborators, traitors, ethnic Germans and Hungarians, except for those who themselves suffered under the Nazis. They also formed a basis for the transfer of the former groups from Czechoslovakia.

Koever´s words are beyond the current reality and they harm cooperation in the region, Zaoralek told reporters during the government´s meeting on Monday.

Slovakia also criticised Koever´s words and summoned the Hungarian ambassador to the Foreign Ministry.

“I wish that our relations were not burdened with anything like this,” Zaoralek said.

He added that the Czech Republic was maximally striving for cooperation of Central and Eastern European countries, and similar statements marred this effort.

Zaoralek wants to hear from the Hungarian Ambassador to Prague, Tibor Petoe, to say what made Koever draw such conclusion.

In an interview with Czech daily Pravo on Friday, Koever said the Czech Republic and Slovakia should not have been admitted to the EU if the law based on collective guilt principles was still part of their legal order.

The Czech Republic refused to abolish the decrees and considers them legally outdated.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec dismissed Koever´s words on Sunday.

Koever had a bad day when saying them, Chovanec said, adding that the Czech Republic’s position on the Benes decrees is unambiguous.

“We have other issues, other problems to deal with along with our Hungarian partners. We consider the issue of the Benes decrees unchangeable and inviolable,” Chovanec said.

The Slovak Foreign Ministry said “Koever´s latest statements such as that the Czech and Slovak republics should not have become EU members are unqualified, they do not correspond to the level of our relations.”

The ministry said it is convinced that Koever will refrain from making similar statements in the future and that he will leave the evaluation of history to experts.

Koever uttered a number of controversial statements in the past some of which touched upon the problem of ethnic Hungarians abroad. Two years ago, he said the Hungarian minority members faced the risk of symbolic as well as real aggression abroad.

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