NEWS BRIEFS

Verheugen: Beneš Decrees no obstacle

EUROPEAN Union Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen yesterday told Czech Prime Minister Miloš Zeman that the Beneš Decrees belonged to the past and would not affect EU entry negotiations. Verheugen said the situation with the Beneš Decrees and Slovakia was "very similar". The Decrees were passed in 1945 by then-Czechoslovak President Eduard Beneš, and resulted in the deportation and stripping of citizenship of thousands of ethnic Germans and Hungarians living on Czechoslovak soil. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently caused a stir by saying he believed the Decrees would have to be abolished before the Czech and Slovak Republics joined the EU.

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