Prague, June 3 (TASR-correspondent) – The unlimited border regime between Slovakia and the Czech Republic will be resumed as of Wednesday midnight, Slovak and Czech Prime Ministers, Igor Matovic and Andrej Babis (respectively), confirmed before the beginning of their talks held during Matovic’s first official visit to Prague on Wednesday.
“As of midnight from Wednesday to Thursday (June 4), we’re introducing absolutely free movement between Slovakia and the Czech Republic,” said the Slovak prime minister, adding that the agreement on this step was made already two days ago.
“As of midnight it will be possible to move freely between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as it was before the coronavirus outbreak,” confirmed Babis.
At the moment Slovaks can travel to the Czech Republic and vice versa without the need to present a negative test for COVID-19 only if their stay in the other country doesn’t exceed 48 hours.
The turning point in the deliberations on the possible opening of the Czech-Slovak border was the opinion of a council of experts, Matovic stated following the talks with his Czech counterpart Babis.
One of the topics of the prime ministers’ meeting was the border. “As soon as the experts approved it on Monday, I called Mr. Babis to agree on the opening of the border,” said Matovic.
“Both countries are like Siamese twins, bound by a common history, personal and family relationships. We’ve therefore taken many separations and restrictions at the border very sensitively. That is why I’m glad that we’re introducing an unrestricted regime [at the border],” said Matovic.
The premiers pointed out that the Slovak side will continue to check third-country nationals. Babis emphasised that there was great interest on the part of the Czech Republic in releasing the regime at the border. He noted that Slovakia is the second most important export country for the Czech Republic and also the second most preferred tourist destination for the Czechs.
“It is therefore important that we support tourism together, as Slovaks are also increasingly travelling to the Czech Republic, which is of course good,” pointed out Babis.
Both prime ministers highlighted the above-standard relations of the countries, Babis assessed Wednesday’s discussions as constructive, nice and friendly. According to Matovic, he assumed that the meeting would be more formal. “I was all the more surprised by the humaneness and the atmosphere at this meeting,” he said.
Matovic also stated that the next joint meeting of the Czech and Slovak governments will take place in the Slovak Paradise area.
The Slovak prime minister will also be received by Czech President Milos Zeman and the heads of both chambers of the Czech Parliament, namely President of the Senate Milos Vystrcil and head of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondracek.