Martin M. Simecka

Differences between the Czech and Slovak national cultures begin with language and range from newspaper circulation to attitudes to corruption. Yet they don’t justify seeing the Czecho-Slovak split as blueprint for dismantling the EU, writes Martin Simecka.

The Slovak author and journalist Martin M. Simecka and Hungarian architect and former samizdat publisher László Rajk are not only former dissidents of the younger generation, but also the sons of well-known persecuted communists. László Rajk sr. was the most prominent victim of the Rákosi show trials of 1949; the writer Milan Simecka sr. began his career in the Czechoslovak Communist Party and became a dissident after 1968. In the first debate in the Eurozine series “Europe talks to Europe”, held in Budapest, they discussed the still unanswered questions surrounding the involvement of their fathers’ generation in post-war communism, and the failings of today’s debate about the past in the former communist countries. Moderated by Éva Karádi, editor of Magyar Lettre Internationale.

At the recent NATO summit, several countries – including Slovakia and the Czech Republic – were invited to join. Martin Simecka has observed the action behind the scenes of the official programme.

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Democratic deficit, enlargement fatigue and ever more rescue funds: is there still a future for a common Europe? In a discussion in Eurozine’s series “Europe talks to Europe”, prominent intellectuals and opinion makers from western and eastern Europe diagnosed causes for the current malaise of the EU.

In Slovakia, journalists’ hard won freedom after 1989 was rapidly curtailed by the authoritarian government of Vladimír Meciar. The media rallied again and played a key role in the victory of the opposition in 1998, only to fall victim to legal intimidation and corruption within their own ranks. But although the most serious challenges to press freedom have been seen off, a media culture free of the legacies of the past has yet to develop, writes Martin Simecka.

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