Czech - Austrian relations at freezing point
In an interview for Monday's edition of the Austrian weekly Profil, Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman compared all Austrians who have signed a petition against the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia to idiots. Alena Skodova has the details:
I asked David Zelinger from Austria's ORF radio station if mutual Czech-Austrian relations might be burdened by a long common history and reach back to the time when the Czech Lands were part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy?
"Yes, of course, there's a very long common history but there a kind of complex, too, based on the common experience of both nations that they had made in the past. Many Austrians are still blaming Czechs for destroying the monarchy before and during the First World War, and some Austrians are also blaming Czechs for expelling the Germans from the so-called Sudeten Land after WW II. And there's still a feeling of Czechs being arrogant, but on the other hand, this is - according to some experts - part of some kind of inferiority complex on both sides."
Mr. Zelinger has lived in Austria for many years - what were Vienna's relations with Prague like during the Cold War?
So it seems the Temelin nuclear power plant is not the only problem. Monday's Czech newspapers write, though, that relations between the two countries are currently at a very low ebb. Is there any chance relations could improve in the near future?
"I hope there is a chance, but on the other hand you have to realize that only one fourth of the Austrian population voted for the Freedom Party and its former leader Joerg Haider, but now the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman is blaming all Austrians, the whole population of being in favour of Haider's Freedom Party, and I would say the majority of Austrians feel to be attacked."