Late Czech Leader Havel Deemed Bulgaria Important for EUDiplomacy | December 18, 2011, Sunday // 15:00| views
Late Czech President Vaclav Havel, a key dissident in communist Eastern Europe, deemed Bulgaria to be important for the European Union.
Havel, who passed away Sunday, at the age of 75, was the last President of the former Czechoslovakia in 1989-1992, and the first President of the Czech Republic in 1993-2003, after he rose to worldwide fame as anti-communist dissident playwright in the 1960s and 1970s.
"European integration is no myth... The EU has demonstrated that Bulgaria is important for Europe," Havel declared back in 2000 at a meeting with then Bulgarian PM Ivan Kostov, commenting an EU decision outlining Bulgaria's voting rights in the EU as a future member.
Havel has been an outspoken proponent of Bulgaria's accession to the EU and NATO during his Presidency.
Havel visited Bulgaria back in 1992 as President of Czechoslovakia, after receiving Bulgaria's first democratically elected President and fellow dissident Zhelyu Zhelev in Prague in 1991. Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov, Zhelev's successor, also visited Prague during Havel's term in 1997.
Havel was supposed to visit Bulgaria as President of the Czech Republic in September 2001 but his visit was canceled in the aftermath of the September 11 Al Qaeda terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, and never materialized while he was still in office till 2003.
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