The Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland gathered in Prague to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
“What took 10 years in Poland, a few months in Hungary, thanks to you took 10 days in the Czech Republic,” said Andrej Babisz.
The Czech Prime Minister paid his respects to Vaclav Havel, a communist era dissenter who went on to become the first President of the Czech Republic and last President of Czechoslovakia.
“30 years ago, when walls and regimes fell, a wave of optimism swept Europe and the states of our region took the path of freedom and democracy,” said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
“Poland became the first breech in the wall, a breech that led to more, in Hungary, in East Germany and in Czechoslovakia,” added Mr Morawiecki.
“For us, young people of Hungary, the resistance of Vaclav Havel was an example,” said Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary.
“In November of 1989 our nations began their return to Europe. We went through a difficult, political and economic transformation,” said the Prime Minister of Slovakia Peter Pellegrini.
The event took place at the National Museum in Prague.
The speaker of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Schaeuble thanked the Czech people for contributing to the unification of his country.
The Velvet revolution began on November 17 1989, when regime police forces attacked an anti-communist student demonstration. This started a series of protests which led to the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. On December 29 opposition figure Vaclav Havel became President, ending the revolution.
Two years later, in 1992, Czechoslovakia peacefully separated into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.