Official State’s Visit of the Austrian President in the Czech Republic

The Austrian President Fischer came to visit the Czech Republic by Train

April 14th, 2016

Unusually, the Austrian President Heinz Fischer has arrived to Prague by train. At Schloß Lahn he had talks with President Milos Zeman and next day he met with Prime Minister Sobotka. The two-day visit is the last official travel abroad of the 77 year old Austrian politician. Indeed, in the summer of this year his second term will arrive to the end.

At Prague's main train station, President Fisher and his wife changed the normal express train from Vienna for the special train with a historic saloon of the first Czechoslovak president T. G. Masaryk and headed toward the Schloß Lahn.

At the train station in Stochau, he revealed with President Milos Zeman a plaque commemorating the meeting of Czechoslovak and Austrian president at the same place in 1921 and the signing of the first agreement regarding cooperation between the two countries.

Fischer brought with him to Prague a large business delegation. Together with Zeman they opened a Czech-Austrian economic forum in Prague. Besides economy, the Czech President Zeman talked about the war in Syria or about the refugee crisis in Europe.

On Tuesday, the Austrian president met with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, visited the Austrian school in Prague and the company Reinwag / Komwag. In the afternoon, he left for Vienna with train again.

Relations between the Czech Republic and Austria were stigmatized in recent years, mainly over nuclear energy, which is not used by Austria. Last sharp criticism came from Austria due to the renewal of authorizations for nuclear plant of Dukowan (district Trebitsch). Indeed, Vienna wants to appeal to the European Commission for this matter.

Moreover, recently there has been a rise of disputes between the two countries over the refugee crisis. Austria along with Germany requested from the new member states such as the Czech Republic more solidarity regarding the arrival of refugees. Austria even called for the withdrawal of European funds to those States that do not want to accept refugees.

However, the situation has changed. Vienna is now a supporter of refugee restrictions, introduced annual and daily quota on the number of asylum arrivers and in many ways agrees with the position of Central European countries.

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Cultural Diplomacy News
Adam Slezak, CD News