Final Word from Thursday, February 26, 2009

Any geographically challenged British journalists who still confuse the CR with Romania and Ukraine should print out copies of the recent U.S. human-rights reports on these three countries and do some comparative reading. The U.S. State Dept. doesn't talk in its reports about such topical issues as government debt levels and Swiss-franc mortgages that differentiate the various economies of Central and Eastern Europe, but details about widespread corruption, security-forces excesses and other human-rights abuses in Romania and Ukraine are enough to make attentive readers realize there are some fundamental differences in the region. Not that the CR is a saint. Compared to Germany, the CR sounds like a cesspool of judicial mafias, political intervention and people-trafficking. The Czech report gives the impression that the interior ministry, not the banks, is the one that needs more international oversight. But compared to his counterparts in the Wild East, even Minister Ivan Langer seems rather harmless.[Czech Republic CEE Department United States of America]

Glossary of difficult words

geographically challenged - a euphemistic way to refer to someone who does not know geography very well;

Swiss-franc mortgages - recent reports in the foreign press wrongly stated that Czechs have many mortgage loans in foreign currencies;

cesspool - a disgusting or corrupt place;

international oversight - there is a debate in the EU about creating new EU-wide oversight agencies.

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