The Slovak Republic was established after the velvet split of Czechoslovakia on 1 January 1993.1 While Prague and Czech citizens noted this day with a certain nostalgia, Slovak political elites as well as citizens celebrated the creation of a new democratic state and the fi nalisation of the political emancipation of the Slovak nation.2 The leadership of the chairman of the Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the protagonist of the split of the country, Vladimir Mečiar, with his not particularly European and Atlantic politics, led to the isolation of the country, and decelerated the process of the accession to the EU. Mečiar’s government submitted the application to the EU in 1995, even earlier than his Czech counterpart Václav Klaus. However, European offi cials strongly criticised Slovakia’s leadership and the country was slipped into the second group negotiating EU accession. The defeat of Mečiar and his politics in 1998 speeded up the process of Europeanisation, and Slovakia finalised the negotiation together with the other nine candidate countries in 2002. The whole accession process was concluded by a successful referendum held on 16–17 May 2003, where almost 93 per cent of voters (on a turnout of only 52 per cent) supported EU entry. (See Table 26.1 for 1990/92 views on Czechoslovakia’s future.)
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