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Czech President Václav Klaus to make last official visit to Slovakia

The Czech Republic and Slovakia have been developing differently since the separation of Czechoslovakia 20 years ago, Czech President Václav Klaus told the TASR newswire ahead of his final visit to Slovakia scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, February 26 and 27.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia have been developing differently since the separation of Czechoslovakia 20 years ago, Czech President Václav Klaus told the TASR newswire ahead of his final visit to Slovakia scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, February 26 and 27.

"[The two countries] have retained their identity, and this is good. It should have been that way. The separation of Czechoslovakia certainly contributed positively towards this, although many didn't believe this at the beginning. Nonetheless, it needs to be said - and I'm not stating it with sadness - that the two states have been developing in a considerably different manner," said Klaus. The Czech president praised Slovakia for its economic growth over the past decade which has been around twice as rapid as in the Czech Republic.

Klaus, a long-time critic of the common European currency, the euro, stated that he is firmly convinced that the currency is not good for Europe as a whole. Another matter is the varying impact of the euro on individual countries. Some countries have gained from the common currency - such as countries in the 'north' of Europe, especially Germany - but weaker economies in the 'south' have suffered. They entered the eurozone with overvalued exchange rates, while they also have had unsustainable social policies that do not correspond to their potential, said Klaus, without naming the countries in question.

Klaus is scheduled to visit Slovakia for the 13th time as Czech president this week. His successor Miloš Zeman is set to be inaugurated on March 8. After leaving the top post, Klaus wants to dedicate himself to work in his newly established think tank – the Václav Klaus Institute. He added that as a scholar he will also cooperate with the well-known CATO Institute in the United States.

He is to make his final official visit with his wife, Lívia, and he is slated to hold talks with his Slovak counterpart Ivan Gašparovič, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška and also to visit St Martin’s Cathedral. On the second day of his visit, Klaus will participate in the festive gathering of the Association of Entrepreneurs of Slovakia to receive its Annual Award. Later he will meet Bratislava mayor Milan Ftáčnik and he will wind up the visit with a festive lunch with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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