published: 28.01.2013, 18:42 | updated: 28.01.2013 19:05:57
Berlin - German President Joachim Gauck welcomed Czech president-elect Milos Zeman's being a proponent of a strong and reliable EU in his letter of congratulations for Zeman, elected Czech president on Saturday, today.
Austrian President Heinz Fischer said he wanted to seek further development of neighbourly relations along with Zeman.
Gauck writes that Zeman will take up the post at the time of "difficult challenges for Europe and your own country."
"I welcome it that you are a proponent of a strong and reliable European Union. Even in the future, Germany will be interested in close harmony with the Czech Republic to tackle the tasks that are ahead of us," Gauck adds.
Gauck said the current relations of the countries were excellent.
"You are a living sign of the trust that has been built continuously in the past decades. Strengthening and deepening the trust remains our joint task," Gauck said, voicing the wish to welcome Zeman in Berlin soon.
The Austrian news agency APA writes that Fischer called the fact that Zeman has become the first directly president of the Czech Republic "an exceptional honour."
He voiced the conviction that they will both intensively work on further development of the relations between the two neighbouring countries.
Leftist candidate Zeman has also received congratulations on his election by the heads of state of Slovakia, Poland and Russia.
However, the German and Austrian press has criticised Zeman over his having blasted his conservative rival Karel Schwarzenberg in the election campaign due to his alleged reconciliatory approach to Sudeten Germans, transferred from Czechoslovakia after World War Two.
Earlier today, the German daily Die Welt recommended to Chancellor Angela Merkel that it should not invite Zeman to Berlin over his anti-German campaign and she should not let hatred of Germans become a standard in European politics.
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