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Queen Beatrix first Dutch royal to visit Slovakia

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the first Dutch monarch to visit present-day Slovakia, arrived in Bratislava yesterday.

She had a half-hour meeting with President Ivan Gašparovič and First Lady Silvia Gašparovičová in the Presidential Palace in Bratislava.

According to the president's spokesman, Marek Trubač, the heads of state discussed the EU constitution and the healthcare systems in both countries, but mainly how difficult it is in both Slovakia and the Netherlands to make healthcare more accessible to every level of society.

Afterwards the talk turned to lighter subjects such as culture and the arts.

After her visit with the president and his wife, Queen Beatrix met with Prime Minister Robert Fico in the Government Office.

Queen Beatrix was first invited to Slovakia by President Michal Kováč (1993-98), but couldn't accept due to her state agenda and the short time span allotted for diplomatic protocol procedures.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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