SLOVAK President Ivan Gašparovič honoured Austrian politician Erhard Busek with the highest award of the Slovak Republic – the Order of the White Double-Bar Cross – for his extraordinary contributions to the development of good relations between Slovakia and Austria, the SITA newswire reported in late June.
Busek, who served as deputy mayor of Vienna from 1978 to 1987, was one of just a few politicians from the west who visited Bratislava throughout the 1980s and developed intensive contacts with Slovaks. He was a founder of the Austrian-Slovak Culture Institute in Vienna in 1982 and was one of the initiators of an acknowledgment that Slovaks were a national minority in Austria and contributed to the official recognition of that fact in 1992.
Busek was one of the first Austrian officials to participate in rallies against the communist regime in Bratislava during the Velvet Revolution and afterwards he intensively supported the development of democracy in Slovakia.
He has also spread the good name of Slovakia in more recent times through his work with NGOs and international bodies and in his writings.
11. Jul 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff