V4, Austria should more cooperate - Austrian President, Czech PM


03.06.2014 18:28

Vienna - The Visegrad Group (V4), comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, should more coordinate its activities with Austria, Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka agreed today.


Český premiér Bohuslav Sobotka (vlevo) se sešel 3. června ve Vídni s rakouským prezidentem Heinzem Fischerem. Vpravo je Sobotkova manželka Olga. ČTK Weiser Martin

Sobotka also supported the idea of more intense contacts between Austrian and Czech top politicians.

Later today, Sobotka met Austrian Prime Minister Werner Faymann. He si also to talk to Viennese Mayor Michael Haeupl.

"It would be good to establish a certain tradition of meetings of at least prime ministers and selected ministers, if not the whole governments," he said.

The Czech and Slovak governments have had joint meetings for several years. The two countries were part of one state that split in two in 1993.

The Visegrad Group declared earlier this year that it would organise meetings of its members, Austria and Slovenia. Czech President Milos Zeman said previously the extending of the number of members of the group to six was negotiated, but some of the present members opposed it.

Fischer and Sobotka also discussed the crisis in Ukraine.

Sobotka said both countries were against the imposing of economic sanctions against Russia.

He also said he appreciates Austria's active employment policy that can cope with economic swings. The Czech Republic should follow the example of Austria in fighting unemployment, Sobotka added.

Sobotka and Faymann discussed a road and rail connection between Austria and southern Bohemia and Moravia as well as bilateral cooperation in energy industry.

"I think it is a shame that 25 years after the 1989 [collapse of the communist regime] we have not succeeded in having a high-quality road as well as rail connection," Sobotka said.

One of the main goals is to reduce the time of traveling between Berlin, Prague, Brno and Vienna, he added.

Sobotka and Faymann also touched upon the selection of a new European Commission president.

In the energy industry, both countries want to cooperate on the interconnection of a gas pipeline for which Sobotka would like to gain money from EU funds, he said.

Sobotka noted that they had not discussed the Temelin nuclear power plant. The plant, situated in south Bohemia, about 50 km from the Austrian border and opposed by Austrian activists, has been a frequent topic of bilateral talks.

Sobotka is accompanied by his wife Olga, his chief aide Vladimir Spidla and State Secretary for European Affairs Tomas Prouza on his visit to Vienna.

Austria is the last Czech Republic's neighbour that Sobotka visited after being appointed prime minister in January. He paid visits to Slovakia in February and Germany and Poland in March.

Two moths ago, new Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek visited Vienna. Zaoralek and his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz said they wanted to reinforce cooperation on the diplomatic and regional levels.

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