Bratislava/Budapest - Slovakians and Hungarians plan to introduce a joint history textbook at schools in both of the countries within two years.
Both countries agreed on the general guidelines years ago. As for the contentious historic moments, each side will have a chance to present their viewpoints in the textbook.
Nationalists say "no"
However, it is precisely the duality of opinion that has met resistance of Slovakia´s Minister of Education Ján Mikolaj, a member of the nationalist Slovakian National Party (SNS). The SNS leader Ján Slota is fiercely hostile to the Hungarian minority in southern Slovakia.
The notion of opposite views of Slovakian and Hungarian historians being presented in a single book was called "illogical" by Mikolaj and "inconsistent... simply impossible" by Slota.
Deputy PM Dušan Čaplovič of the senior government party Smer still favors the idea of having both views presented in the textbook.
Kosovo as a precedent?
Slovakia and Hungary are not the first countries to have a joint history textbook.
France and Germany and Germany and Poland - nations whose interrelated histories are as knotty as the one of Slovakia and Hungary - have already explored this terra incognita of education.
Although the Czech Republic's relations to Poland and Germany is just as stormy, no projects of joint school books have been mentioned yet.
The general question of the status of ethnic minorities present all over Europe has lately been brought up yet again by the hot debate over the independence of Kosovo.
Slovakia and Romania oppose the independence of Kosovo, fearing that such an act could set up a precedent case for the Hungarian minorities living in both of these countries.
Some EU countries, the population of which is far from being homogenous, such as Cyprus or Spain, share the same point of view with Slovakia not to grant independence to ethnic minorities.
Disputed history of disputes
The history of Slovakia and Hungary is rife with bitter conflicts. Ethnically and linguistically alien to predominantly Slavic and German peoples in the region, Finno-Ugric Magyar tribes migrated to the area of today´s Central and Eastern Europe in the 9th century AD.
Eventually, their kingdom consumed the territory of present-day Slovakia and Slavic people living there. This situation remained virtually unchanged for nearly one millennium, until the onset of World War I.
As one of the defeated powers, Hungary was territorially curtailed after the war. Trianon, the name of the palace near Versailles where the treaty establishing the new borders was signed, is still a swearword to some Hungarians.
Bitter legacies still vivid
With huge minorities being left behind in neighboring countries including Slovakia, the politics of Hungary in the following tumultuous decades aimed to reintegrate the Hungarian territory.
Between 1938 to 1945, southern parts of Slovakia inhabited by Hungarians were annexed by Budapest. After World War II was over, with Hungary yet again on the losing side, the pre-war frontiers were re-established.
Nowadays, despite both states being members of the EU and part of the Schengen border-free zone, the mere existence of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia still bothers many Slovaks.