Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič and his Austrian opposite number Heinz Fischer concurred at their meeting in Bratislava on Tuesday, June 5, on the need for Greece to remain a eurozone member, as this would be the best solution for all parties concerned.
Fischer, who is on an official visit to Slovakia, said – as quoted by the TASR newswire – that we need to wait for the results of the upcoming election in Greece and for the approach that the new government will take towards austerity measures. The Austrian president expressed his hope that Greece’s new leaders would take a constructive stance on the country retaining its eurozone membership.
Gašparovič echoed Fischer's view and asserted that the economic distress in which Greece has found itself needs to be considered. He added that further assistance within the emergency fund will be pre-conditioned by compliance with conditions and commitments arising from agreements between Greece, the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Although nuclear energy remains a contentious issue between Austria and Slovakia, Slovakia cannot give it up because nuclear energy provides 53 percent of the country's electricity, Gašparovič said after meeting Fischer.
"We want to carry on [with nuclear energy], but we've agreed that safety should come first, and that's why we want to continue investments in it," said Gašparovič for TASR.
Turning to co-operation with Slovakia's new Government, Fischer said that he sees potential mainly in boosting economic growth. He noted that trade between the two countries has reached €5.6 billion per year and is nearing €6 billion. Fischer pointed to the fact that even though nearly 17,000 Slovaks work in Austria, they haven't caused any negative effects on the Austrian job market.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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