Čaputová and Van der Bellen discussed carbon-free Europe

The president also visited Poland during the weekend. The horrors of WWII remind us of how important united Europe is, she said.

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová and her Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen.Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová and her Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen. (Source: SITA)

President Zuzana Čaputová has visited all Slovakia’s neighbours except Ukraine since being appointed to her post in mid-June.

Most recently, she met with her Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen, with whom she discussed environmental issues as well. A day later, she travelled to Poland where she commemorated the 80th anniversary since the beginning of World War II, and met with her Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.

To Vienna by train

During her meeting with Van der Bellen on August 30, Čaputová joined his initiative calling to strengthen the ambition in fighting climate change. It is no secret that both presidents are interested in protecting the environment, she added.

“Our countries have been the only ones in the region to take the vow of a carbon-free future by 2050 and they’ve been adopting specific measures to achieve this,” Čaputová said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “I believe that we’ve found a deep agreement on the further development of our personal co-operation in this sphere.”

Both presidents are convinced that people need a modern and climate sustainable economy. This will require changes in technologies, industry and energy. They also need to reduce the social impacts on people and strengthen social stability for all EU citizens regardless of the member country they work in.

During her visit, the Slovak President highlighted Austria as a beacon of hope for Slovaks regarding the existence of a free world beyond the Iron Curtain before 1989.

While Bratislava and Vienna are a mere 60 kilometres away from each other, a strict border dividing the Soviet-ruled and Western blocs was erected within walking distance from the Slovak capital for four decades before 1989.

“I want to assure you that Slovakia hasn’t forgotten and it highly values your decisions made at the time,” Čaputová said, as quoted by TASR. “This is one of the reasons why it is our duty to do everything possible to protect our freedom.

Čaputová and Van der Bellen concurred that the two nations share more than a common border, with the former noting that Slovakia and Austria are among the most integrated countries in the EU.

She also pointed out that Austrian companies active in Slovakia employ 45,000 people, while thousands of Slovaks work in Austria, TASR reported.

The Slovak president had decided to travel to her visit to Austria by train. Apart from Van den Bellen, she met with the Austrian Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein.

We must not yield to evil

The horrors of WWII should remind everybody of the importance of Europe remaining united and strong, stated Čaputová, while attending a commemorative event in Warsaw on September 1 to mark the 80th anniversary of the beginning of WWII.

“Face to face against evil, we mustn’t yield, but overcome it,” Čaputová wrote on Twitter.

She assured Poland that she stands on the side of the Polish nation on this day, when WWII began with the occupation of this country 80 years ago.

“It was an honour for me to be with President [Andrzej] Duda in Warsaw today,” the president continued. “We’ll never forget.”

The commemorative event in Warsaw was attended by delegations from 40 countries. Among those who accepted Duda’s invitation were the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, US Vice-president Mike Pence, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Czech President Miloš Zeman, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Hungarian President János Áder, TASR wrote.

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