Lessons from an independence trailblazer

Twenty years ago, on 1 January, 1993, Slovakia became an independent country. Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Miroslav Lajcak, has spoken to BBC Scotland about the journey Slovakia has taken since that momentous day.

"When my country was born, many people were sceptical about the chances for us to exist, let alone prosper. Right now, everybody understands and acknowledges that we have been a success story.  So the general feeling is that there was a scepticism at the beginning.  People were not convinced that the split of Czechoslovakia was the best idea but right now, we are doing very well, the Czech Republic is doing well and our friendship is better than ever."

Asked if Slovaks had any regrets given the specific challenges they faced in the early days as a post-Eastern bloc State and newly independent country, Mr Lajcak said: "Sure. It wasn't easy and that was one of the reasons why Czechoslovakia split, because of the structure of the economy in the Czech Republic and Slovakia was different." But he added: "Right now, Slovakia is doing really well."

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