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This is my translation of the front-page editorial in today’s MF Dnes.

Why “YES”

The giant “yes” on our front page, which can’t be missed, symbolizes a historic moment. We are saying which point of view our newspaper has. We don’t do that often. Before elections we never write how we’ll vote or which party we’ll support. Why then is MF DNES writing a big “YES” at the moment when we will vote on entry to the European Union?

Because we believe entry into the EU is a good and practical thing, which can strongly help the development of our country. It is a great hope, that we will definitively rid ourselves of the heritage of the communist empire to the east, which we unfortunately were part of.

It is not a question of politics. Membership in the union will bring a wide collection of useful individual components. It is a large package of agreements and steps which will either now, or gradually, remove barriers to free movement in search of work and study, barriers to investment, and the movement of goods. And it positively affects the lives of a large number of people. For example, that drinking water has to be truly drinkable is not a bad commitment. It is simply a civilized approach that our country needs in many areas.

It is important to approach the question of entry to the EU soberly. We speak of hope, never of security. This step can move us further along, but it will also bring new concerns as well as various battles on the European stage.

The EU is a human organization, not a heavenly one. There are many “buts.” Its future shape is a matter for discussion and varied opinions are natural. After the experience in the Iraq war, it is for example difficult to embrace the opinion that every EU nation has to have the same foreign policy. Another “but” touches on the bureaucracy, which the institution of the Union in Brussels is becoming famous for.

There are many other “buts” here. But because of these, as well as because of each person’s inalienable right to his opinions, we do not believe that the opponents of entry to the EU should be considered enemies of the state. Never. This is a free election.

Nevertheless, in such a solemn moment it seems correct for our newspaper, in spite of all the “buts” to say “YES.”

PAVEL ŠAFR, šéfredaktor MF DNES

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