Vienna, September 9 (TASR) – Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) assured at a press conference on Wednesday following the meeting of prime ministers of the so-called Slavkov format (Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria) in Vienna that the borders between Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria remain open for the time being, TASR learnt on the same day.
On behalf of all three countries, Matovic appealed to people to be responsible also during the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. “We’ll really win this fight if we’re responsible together. When we realise that freedom without responsibility leads to anarchy,” said Matovic. “We think that even an ordinary face mask protects lives,” he continued, noting that wearing face masks will remain a key tool in the fight against the pandemic also in the second wave.
Matovic stressed that in view of the growing number of infected people, together with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis they agreed to do everything to “keep the borders between our countries open until the last possible moment”.
Matovic invited the Austrian chancellor to visit Slovakia, as he had not been there for six years, which, in his opinion, is a shame, given the proximity of Vienna and Bratislava. At the same time, he expressed the hope that Kurz will accept his invitation as they formed a friendly and open relationship.
The main topic of the talks was the COVID-19 pandemic, namely the exchange of information on how the countries managed the first wave and on the procedures during the current second wave. The premiers pointed out the importance of the fact that even smaller countries are able to exchange views and take common positions before key European meetings.
In connection with travel between Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria, Kurz also called for a “co-ordinated and better agreed” approach. “We urgently expect a Europe-wide co-ordinated approach,” he said in connection with the unfavourable development of the pandemic in many European countries.
The Czech prime minister warned against restrictions on free travel, which he said would have a negative impact on economic relations between countries, as well as on tourism.
According to Babis, other topics of the meeting included the issue of migration, relations with Turkey and China, Brexit, the internal market and digitisation.