Austria, Czechia, and Slovakia in possible border openings: Covid-19 crisis

Austria, Czechia, and Slovakia in possible border openings: Covid-19 crisis

Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The coronavirus (Covid-19) devastated parts of Europe including Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. However, others throughout the Baltics, Nordic nations, and Visegrad Group have dealt with the crisis to a higher degree. Sweden being the notable exception from the above based on its different path. Therefore, the nations of Austria, Czechia, and Slovakia are thinking about opening their respective borders.

Unlike the huge death tolls of some European nations, this doesn’t apply to Austria (628 dead), Czechia (295 dead), and Slovakia (27 dead). Indeed, in the last 24 hours, only 4 people have died collectively in all three nations. Thus, given the horrendous economic impact of coronavirus – secondary to the importance of protecting people – many European nations now seek to kick start the economic angle.

Reports state that Tomáš Petříček, the Foreign Minister of Czechia, desires to open the respective borders based on the Austerlitz format (Slavkov trilateral). This format is the loose cooperation between Austria, Czechia, and Slovakia.

Elisabeth Köstinger, the Minister for Agriculture and Tourism in Austria, is equally eager to open borders with regional nations. Köstinger uttered, “For Austria, the priority is to open the borders with neighboring countries.”

Prime Minister Andrej Babis of Czechia noted that all three nations are making great progress in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Babis said, “I think it could somehow work out that on June 8 or 15, our three countries would open together.”

Testing needs to be solved along with other specific issues that apply to each nation. However, the signs are positive that a deal can be reached.

This is based on mutual understanding, the economic angle, and in the knowledge of great progress in the fight against coronavirus.

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