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Czech Republic

Yearbook 1999

Czech Republic. In March, the Czech Republic joined the NATO military alliance together with Poland and Hungary. President Václav Havel described the entry as "one of the most important moments in Czech history". However, it was immediately followed by NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, something that a majority of the Czechs opposed, according to investigations. But Parliament approved its use of Czech territory to transport NATO troops and equipment in the direction of the Balkan Peninsula.

1999 Czech Republic

In April, the government decided to put about 30 financially weak private companies under state control to prevent a wave of bankruptcies. The measure was seen by assessors as a recognition that the privatization program of the early 1990s had failed. However, the financially pressured government decided during the summer to sell out the state's shares in the telecommunications company České Radiokommunikace and the country's largest bank, Komerční banka. In July, Finance Minister Ivo Svoboda was dismissed after being indicted in a bankruptcy business around a company where he was a board member. His replacement was Pavel Mertlík.

According to Countryaah official website, the government maintained during the year that the construction of a controversial nuclear power plant in Temelin will be completed. The work, which began in 1986, has been suspended since 1989. The decision to complete the construction was criticized by President Havel, Austria and the European Parliament, as well as by a number of environmental organizations.

In Ústí nad Labem in northern Bohemia there was a prolonged conflict in a residential area between Czechs and Roma during the year. In April, the municipal management decided to set up a concrete and plank barrier to separate the Roma's housing from the neighborhood, where residents complained of unrest. The decision received criticism from the Czech Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Roma tried to tear down the barrier. It became known across Europe as a symbol of racial segregation in the Czech Republic and received harsh criticism from the EU. The minority government feared that the country's sensitive negotiations for EU membership would be damaged and ordered the municipality to cancel the construction. But legally, the government did not have that right and was forced to negotiate with the local authorities. Following promises of financial contributions to the municipality, the barrier was demolished at the end of November.

In November, the 10th anniversary was celebrated by the fall of communism, and in Prague there was carnival acid. But the celebration in early December turned into mass protests against the incumbent government, the financial difficulties and the widespread corruption. In Prague, about 50,000 people demonstrated, and twice as many signed a petition demanding the departure of Prime Minister Miloš Zeman.

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