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Same interests smooth Czechs’ conflict with Sudeten Germans

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Prague, May 16 (CTK) – The times are hard and politics is based on the principle of cooperation with those having identical priorities, to which old conflicts with Sudeten Germans have given way, Lukas Jelinek writes in Pravo on Czech minister Daniel Herman’s speech at the SL rally on Sunday.

Culture Minister Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) has been the first Czech government member to attend the annual Sudeten German Landsmannschaft’s (SL) rally.

Jelinek writes that Herman did not speak on behalf of the government, he did not have an official mandate for his appearance, which was, however, approved and supported by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD).

Jelinek writes that Sobotka considers the meetings of Czechs and Germans a matter of course, he is mainly interested in the future of Europe and he considers “search for what connects us in Europe” to be important now that there are serious crises and risks in the world.

He writes that the number of those who remember the “purges” during which Czechs were driven out of the borderland after 1938 and those who experienced the transfer of Germans from Czechoslovakia in 1945 have been rapidly decreasing.

About 2.5 million Germans were transferred from Czechoslovakia after the war based on former president Edvard Benes’s decrees that 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.

A majority of the descendants of the transferred Germans, when looking back, take into consideration the current era of European integration and the accommodating stances contained in the Czech-German Treaty of 1992 and the Czech-German Declaration of 1997.

In addition, the Sudeten Germans have deleted the article on property claims towards the Czech Republic from their statutes, Jelinek writes.

He writes that the final stage of rapprochement with the Sudeten Germans has been cool-headed, it has proceeded step by step. One of them was the participation of the Czech consul general in the SL rally last year and a video-recorded greeting Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (KDU-CSL) sent to the meeting.

Herman’s participation in the SL rally was only criticised by President Milos Zeman and the Communists (KSCM), while the rest of political parties already seem to be thinking of the political and economic aspects of the smoothing out of the conflict, Jelinek writes.

He points out that the SL is an influential player in Bavaria, the largest state of federal Germany, which is controlled by the Christian Social Union (CSU).

The SL’s chairman, MEP Bernd Posselt, also has his political ambitions. He never forgets to inflate any Czech friendly gesture and to take all the credit for it, Jelinek writes.

This must be realised in connection with the unusual dynamism with which the Czech-Bavarian relations are developing, he adds.

The warming started under Czech prime minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS, in office in 2010-13). On Saturday, Sobotka met Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer for the sixth time during the celebrations of the 700th birth anniversary of King of Bohemia and Roman Emperor Charles IV, Jelinek writes.

Until recently, Prague kept saying the German government is the partner for the Czech government and that Bavaria should maintain partnership with the Plzen or Karlovy Vary regions in west Bohemia.

However, the Czech-Bavarian border is long and Bavaria may be an attractive ally for the Czech government against German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the migrant crisis, for instance, Jelinek writes.

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