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NEWS BRIEFS

Khol pays first state visit to Slovakia

ON his first official visit to Slovakia, on May 16, Austrian Speaker of Parliament Andreas Khol said EU entry was likely to be as important to Slovakia as it had been to Austria.

He was speaking after a meeting with his Slovak counterpart, Pavol Hrušovský, and joked that Vienna was "like a Bratislava suburb".

The speaker said that mutual ties would be all the more important given that the neighbouring countries would soon sit together at the European table. He said he wanted to conduct interparliamentary cooperation at committee levels, mainly through Slovakia's integration committee and Austria's European affairs committee.

He agreed with Hrušovský to set up an informal grouping that included the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovenia, which could not be passed over in EU decision making, much like the cooperation the currently exists between Scandinavian countries, Benelux states, and Mediterranean countries.

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