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Re: [Slovak World] Land Grab

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  • Martin Votruba
    I ll add a bit of background. The decision was originally taken on Oct. 14., at the European Economic Area s (EEA) joint session, when Prince Nicholas of
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2003
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      I'll add a bit of background. The decision was originally taken on Oct.
      14., at the European Economic Area's (EEA) joint session, when Prince
      Nicholas of Liechtenstein prevented Slovakia from joining the EEA. His
      step does not affect Slovakia's upcoming entry to the European Union (EU),
      which is quite important for Slovak economy.

      The EEA is an association of European countries that are not EU members.
      Should Prince Nicholas prevail, Slovakia, along with the Czech Republic,
      would not be able to benefit from free trade with Island, Liechtenstein,
      and Norway -- all members of the EEA, but not the EU. Trade with these
      three countries is not of major importance for Slovakia. The total
      benefit from membership would be $14-15 million. But it is an unwelcome
      diplomatic complication for Bratislava.

      Liechtenstein is a tiny Alpine principality closely associated with
      Switzerland. It had a similar association with Austria, and consequently
      Germany before World War II. Its area is marginally larger than the city
      of Pittsburgh, but is much less populous. Its capital Vaduz has only
      5,000 inhabitants. All-in-all, Prince Nicholas rules about 33,00
      subjects. Liechtenstein is often criticized for its secretive banking
      laws conducive to money laundering.

      Prince Nicholas's wrath is aimed at the Czech Republic, and Slovakia is
      affected as one of the two successor states of the former Czecho-Slovakia.

      The Liechtensteins used to be large feudal landowners in the Habsburg
      monarchy, particularly in the Margraviate of Moravia (now part of the
      Czech Republic). They retained their possession after the monarchy's
      defeat by the U.S. and allies in 1918, and the foundation of
      Czecho-Slovakia. However, their property in Czecho-Slovakia was
      confiscated after World War II. Prague then viewed the Principality of
      Liechtenstein as semi-integrated with Hitler's Germany, and therefore
      subject to war retributions.

      The Liechtensteins' confiscated possessions in what is the Czech Republic
      today included about 25,000 acres of fertile arable land, factories,
      castles and other structures, and works of art. Prince Nicholas now
      demands an apology, and partial compensation. His financial claims
      against Slovakia are negligible, but Bratislava sides with Prague in its
      rejection of the demands.


      Martin

      votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
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