President Zuzana Čaputová welcomed Alexander Van der Bellen in her native Pezinok

President Zuzana Čaputová welcomed Alexander Van der Bellen in her native Pezinok

On Wednesday 15 July 2020, President Zuzana Čaputová met with the President of Austria, Alexander van der Bellen, who visited Slovakia at her invitation. She welcomed him in her native Pezinok. 

They discussed the novel coronavirus pandemic and its effects. Both presidents considered it important that in a time of this grave crisis, Slovakia and Austria showed solidarity with the worst-affected countries and joined global efforts to support the development of a COVID-19 vaccine that will be  accessible for all.

The president and I spoke about how we coped with the recent difficult period and also about what we need to do for our countries to preserve economic stability and keep the social effects of the crisis to a minimum. In this context, we spoke mainly about the European Recovery Plan, which Slovakia strongly supports. I see it as a historic opportunity for Slovakia and the whole European Union to leap a generation ahead.

The heads of state agreed that the recovery must be environmentally-friendly and must make climate protection a long-term priority. President Čaputová presented Slovakia’s plans in this area, especially the country’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, which Slovakia has made as the first country in the region. She also mentioned the plan to phase out brown coal in power generation by 2023. 

I very much appreciate the Austrian president’s invitation to the Austrian World Summit, which will take place in Vienna this year. Its theme will be the relationship between the climate crisis and the pandemic, especially a green and fair recovery and the sustainable restarting of economies affected by the crisis.