From Mike in Slovakia
I came to Slovakia in 2003, after the collapse of communism but before joining the EU. When I first came the town centre was rather unkempt and tatty but had a certain character.
Now the old town is full of expensive restaurants and gift shops and numerous ultramodern shopping precincts have sprung up. Where has the money come from? I suspect from the EU.
The railway and bus station were planned to be rebuilt according to EU style but I think the money has dried up now.
Personally I am glad. I liked the real Slovakia.
The other big change is the border control.
When I first came there were soldiers patrolling the borders in the countryside.
There were passport checks on the train on trips to Austria and the Czech Republic. Now there are no border checks.
A few weeks ago a new bridge was opened, Cycle To Freedom.
It takes cyclists and pedestrians across the river Morava from a small village in Slovakia near the capital to Austria. Now a quiet walk along the river has become a place full of tourists.
Well it is nice not have to take the bus or train to Austria. Where did the money come from to build this bridge?
Well judging from all the blue flag icons with stars on them on everything around the bridge there are no prizes for guessing the answer.
The EU flag is rife in Slovakia. Well it shows who pays for these ugly modern changes and who Slovakia has to obey in return for this generosity.
Let’s get back to the new bridge. So what used to be a very well guarded border has become a completely open route like going from Essex to Hertfordshire.
What will things be like in the future? Perhaps when people wake up to the fact that millions of starving people from the third world want to invade Europe the border controls will come back.
It was clearly possible to stop people leaving back in the communist times.
I am sure it is possible to stop people coming in.
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