Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala chose neighboring Slovakia for his first visit abroad in office, discussing at length with Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger the continuing role of the Visegrád Group, the upcoming Czech EU presidency and the ongoing energy crisis across Europe.
After the talks, the two national leaders reiterated their desire to return to the tradition of a joint meeting, with the coronavirus pandemic interrupting gatherings for the past two years.
“We agreed that we would like to continue this tradition at the turn of April and May,” said Heger.
Part of the official meeting was devoted to the Visegrád Group and the EU. Czechia’s EU presidency starts in the second half of the year, with Slovakia chairing the V4 and Austerlitz format at the same time. Heger stressed that the two countries had an opportunity to set the tone and guide politics throughout Europe during this time.
The representatives of both governments assured the Czech and Slovak people that they will inform them in advance if it is necessary to take measures against the spread of Covid-19 in either country which would consequently affect travel between the nations.
Later, Fiala also briefly met with Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová at a private meeting where the leaders reportedly discussed the ongoing relationship between the neighboring nations, as well as the future health, social and economic challenges they both face.
“In the new Czech government, Slovakia has a partner with whom our country will get along. We are both concerned about the growing tensions in our neighborhood. We agreed that in the 21st century, attempts to divide spheres of influence have no place in Europe,” Čaputová later commented on the meeting.
Fiala returned to Prague immediately after the meetings, ahead of a vote of confidence in his government which awaits him on Wednesday.