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Slovakia celebrates May 1

For Slovakia, May 1 is a public holiday, Labour Day, and marks the 9th anniversary of Slovakia’s accession to the European Union in 2004.

For Slovakia, May 1 is a public holiday, Labour Day, and marks the 9th anniversary of Slovakia’s accession to the European Union in 2004.

Though Labour Day is now celebrated on May 1, it was not so in the past, Marína Zavacká from the Historical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) told the SITA newswire. She said the origin of the May 1 holiday can be found in traditional spring feasts.

“The strongest roots can be seen in various spring processions attended by craft guilds which were marching with their own flags,” Zavacká said. “Yet, the development of industrial production and disappearance of old crafts meant that many workers lost this tradition.”

Zavacká added that Labour Day has been celebrated on various days. There was once an agreement that it would be held during first Sunday in May, but the holiday was moved to May 1 in 1889, SITA wrote.

May 1 is now also celebrated as the day that Slovakia joined the EU. The country’s journey to membership started in October 1993, when it signed an association agreement in Luxembourg. In 1995, during a summit in Cannes, then prime minister Vladimír Mečiar submitted the official membership request. However, two years later the European Commission refused to include Slovakia among the countries on course to join the union because it did not fulfil its political criteria, SITA wrote.

The situation changed in 1998 when the EU praised the parliamentary elections in Slovakia, which it described as “a positive step towards the integration of Slovakia into European structures”. The country’s membership was officially approved during a summit in Copenhagen held in December 2002. The accession agreement was then signed on April 16, 2003.

Before Slovakia officially joined the EU, there was a referendum in which 92.46 percent of those who took part supported EU membership, SITA wrote.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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