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Friday, September 30, 2022
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    What’s in a name? Czechs learn to live in ‘Czechia’

    PRAGUE (AFP) – Nearly three decades after Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two states, Czechs are still looking for a proper name in English for their country.

    “The Czech Republic” has been widely used, though the shorter “Czechia” has slowly been catching on since its official registration by the United Nations in 2016.

    The European Union (EU) and NATO member’s current stint at the helm of the rotating EU presidency offers an opportunity for a breakthrough.

    “We are seeking to unify the presentation of our country abroad and at home after a long 30 years,” Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Dvorak, an advocate of “Czechia”, told AFP.

    “It is absurd to have 27 EU members and 29 NATO members using their short names and Czechia as the only member country stating its political status,” as a republic, he added.

    The Foreign Ministry promotes the shorter name, while Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s office has largely used “the Czech Republic” on its website and social networks.

    To make matters worse, at times the two names show up in tandem.

    When it took over the EU presidency on July 1, the government rolled out a website hailing the “natural beauty of Czechia” in one sentence and the cultural heritage of “the Czech Republic” in the next.

    “The current mess… in naming our country is the biggest obstacle to creating a ‘brand’. We want to change it,” said Dvorak.

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