Pozadí astronaut Brázda
Pozadí astronaut Brázda

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Respekt in English

A country without borders

The names of people who died trying to swim across the Morava river to Austria are carved in a stone on the Slovak side of the Danube and Morava junction.

Autor fotografie: Pavel Reisenauer • Autor: Respekt
Autor fotografie: Pavel Reisenauer • Autor: Respekt

The names of people who died trying to swim across the Morava river to Austria are carved in a stone on the Slovak side of the Danube and Morava junction. They were no mad adrenaline lovers. They were people longing for freedom, and they were killed by communist border patrols, not by water. They were unlucky to live in the wrong age and in the wrong part of Europe.

Several years later, their relatives probably live in the best era of modern history, and in a better part of Europe without having had to cross the river. Entry into the Schengen area marks the end of one phase of the post-communist development. As of December 21, Czechs can say they live in a country with no borders.

Painful past

It is typical of today's EU that the biggest change in the history of the old continent takes on the shape of a tedious bureaucratic procedure. EU enlargement was such a tiresome, lengthy process above all for the newcomers that they did not have much energy left for enthusiasm when they actually acceded in May 2004. The Schengen situation is similar.

And yet it is one of the most important moments in the history of Central Europe. From 1918 on, the borders of countries in this region were only a source of tension, nationalist pride, and a tool of revenge. They have never actually been calm. After the birth of Czechoslovakia, the border was lined with various islands of…

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