Prague, Czech Republic – Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic is due to visit Prague on Wednesday, June 3, for his first trip abroad since taking office in March.
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic, who had to postpone all his foreign trips due to the coronavirus epidemic, will be received in Prague at the Kramář Villa by his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis.
As per a tradition in place since the split of Czechoslovakia in the early 1990’s, Czech and Slovak leaders traditionally visit each other for their first official trip abroad. Last year, newly elected Slovak President Zuzana Caputova also traveled to Prague for her first trip as head of state.
Prime Ministers Babis and Matovic are set to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and other bilateral issues.
On Monday, the two countries agreed to partially reopen their mutual border, allowing Czechs and Slovaks to travel freely without a negative Covid-19 test for a limited period of 48 hours.
Earlier this month, Slovak PM Matovic said he had approached his Czech counterpart to discuss the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries, referring to the “possibility of creating something like Czechoslovakia again so that the first borders that fall within Central Europe are between Slovakia and the Czech Republic”.
Slovakia also finally launched its “smart quarantine app” one week ago, allowing Slovaks returning to the country – many of whom live, study and work in the Czech Republic – to self-quarantine at home upon their return rather than in state-run quarantine facilities.
More travel restrictions between the two countries, which have been largely successful in containing the viral outbreak and in keeping infection numbers low, could be lifted in the coming days or weeks.
Main photo credit: EPA-EFE/SLOVAK PRESIDENT’S OFFICE