by David Johnson
January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia was split along ethnic lines into two nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. With its market economy reforms and strong parliamentary democracy, the Czech Republic has sought to integrate into Western Europe. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and is an applicant to join the European Union.
However, economic difficulties and political instability plagued the Czech Republic in the late 1990s. Public support for the joining the European Union has also declined.
A strong nationalist movement swept the eastern portion of Czechoslovakia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, resulting in the creation of Slovakia, or the Slovak Republic, on January 1, 1993. Slovakia has been slower than the Czech Republic to introduce market reforms. Slovakian leaders want to join the European Union to facilitate trade with Western Europe and improve the economy.
Slovakia has quarreled with the Czech Republic over the disposition of property that belonged to the Czechoslovakian government. There has also been tension with Hungary, which has been concerned about the treatment of the Hungarian minority, which constitutes 10% of Slovakia's population.