Czechs are fond of recalling that, geographically; Prague lies further west than Vienna. And it is worth repeating that Czechoslovakia was an independent democratic state between the two world wars, with a higher GDP per capita than Austria. However, the Cold War meant that Czechoslovakia and the other Soviet satellite states were cut off from the western half of Europe for over 40 years. The collapse of Communism in 1989 was seen as a new chance for democracy, peace and unity in Europe. This is still the challenge for Europe today. The Czech Republic is on its way to a full 'return to Europe'. At the heart of Central Europe, the Czech Republic has ties with both its former partners in Central and Eastern Europe, and its new partners in Western Europe. A milestone in European history was marked in March 1999 when the Czech Republic along with two other former Warsaw Pact member states, Poland and Hungary, joined NATO, the very organization that the Warsaw Pact had been created to oppose. As a NATO member, the Czech Republic contributes to the Alliance's collective security strategy, and thus plays a role in shaping the security configuration of the whole of Europe. The next major step for the Czech Republic on its path back to Europe is accession to the European Union. During the Cold War era, there was neither mutual recognition nor contractual relations between the European Community (as it was called then) and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) and its Communist member states, which included Czechoslovakia. The Joint Declaration between the EU and Comecon of June 1988 on mutual recognition between the two parties opened the way for diplomatic relations between the EU and each of the Comecon states. In 1989, the end of the Communist regimes and of Comecon created entirely new conditions for relations. First, came a network of bilateral trade and cooperation agreements, known as the 'first generation' agreements. From 1991 onwards, more comprehensive agreements known as Association Agreements or Europe Agreements were being signed between the European Community and the former Communist states. The name 'Europe Agreement' is symbolic of the importance of these accords for the European continent. The Czech Republic's Association Agreement was signed in Brussels on October 4, 1993, entered into force on February 1, 1995 and is still the fundamental legal basis for relations today.
Ďaľšie referáty z kategórie
The Czech Republic in Europe
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