I am extremely amazed and concerned at the silence of both the British and the Slovak governments on the issue of the visa requirements for the Slovaks to enter the UK.
I cannot comprehend the grounds on which the visa requirement is still imposed on the Slovaks, while the Czechs, the Poles and the Hungarians are exempt and only need clearance at the port of entry.
America, Nato and the EU keep advising Slovakia and the Slovak people to avoid a return to the communist era, yet most of them, and the UK in particular, are destroying these people's hopes of learning from the present and building a future with Europe. Slovaks, especially young people, are aware of the importance of Europe and their integration to it, but cannot grasp or understand why Europe in general, and the UK in particular, keep shunning them. They want to learn about democracy and freedom, about hard work and hard earning, they want to travel the world, like their British, American, Australian, French or Dutch counterparts they see roaming their country telling tales and stories of their amazing voyages.
They want to start now to learn what is to be a European so they can prepare as much as possible for when Europe comes to them so they will be ready for it, and ready to pass it on to their own children too.
Instead they are being undermined in their learning and understanding of Europe, of the so-called Free World, and comprehending democracy that denies their basic rights to travel.
This is a common-sense plea for visas for Slovaks to be scrapped, to give them a chance to appreciate what freedom and democracy mean, and why it is important for them and for the future of Slovakia to be concerned about the choices to be made in September this year at the polls.
25. Mar 2002 at 0:00