Visit of the Slovak Prime Minister to Vienna: Disagreement on Nuclear Technology Issues

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: July 18, 2022; 18:47 ♦ (Vindobona)

Eduard Heger, the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, visited Vienna earlier this week. In his conversations with Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer, he emphasized the importance of Ukraine's victory over the Russian invader and discussed nuclear power differences between the two countries.

Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Eduard Heger and Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Dragan Tatic

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Eduard Heger visited Vienna. During his talks with Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer, he emphasised the enormous importance of Ukraine's victory against the Russian invader and spoke with Nehammer about the two countries' different views on nuclear power.

On one of the main topics of the two statesmen's conversation, the war in Ukraine, the Slovak prime minister was combative and stressed: "It is important to us that each of our neighbouring countries is free." For this reason, Slovakia was providing Ukraine with extensive assistance.

His counterpart also stressed Austria's full readiness to stand fully behind the line of the European Union and to speak out against the Russian war of aggression and to make it clear that war must never be a part of politics.

Following on from this topic, global food security and the creation of "green corridors" related to war were also discussed. Austria supports the World Food Programme, Nehammer said, stressing that it is important to establish global stability in the area of food.

Austria had therefore provided 3.5 million euros to the food programme, with a further 500,000 euros going to civil society organisations on the ground.

"The European Union and the international community are needed to help quickly, because otherwise we will be confronted with the consequences of the crisis, including new waves of migration, on an unimagined scale," Nehammer said.

In contrast to the unity on the issue of the Ukraine war, the two politicians did not find common ground on the issue of nuclear energy. Chancellor Nehammer made it clear that Austria considered nuclear energy too dangerous. Slovak Prime Minister Heger countered that Slovakia was doing everything to maintain the existing safety standards at the best possible level.

On the other hand, there was consensus between the two countries on safety issues. Austria is working closely with Slovakia within the framework of the Austerlitz format, which deals with essential questions of security, but also with the development of Europe. The issue of irregular migration is also relevant here. This was increasing dramatically in Austria, the Chancellor said.

More than 30,000 applications for asylum had already been filed this year. "The migration pressure is rising, and we must act together against it. We need strong EU external border protection and finally new regulations on asylum procedures within the European Union. The old asylum system has unfortunately completely failed." There is also agreement on further support for the Western Balkans with regard to EU accession, which is an important central geostrategic area for both countries.

Good relations between Slovakia and Austria

Heger emphasised the quality of the mutual relations between Slovakia and Austria, which he said were "friendly, correct and deepening". He thanked Austria for adopting the law on the subsequent payment of family allowances to citizens of other EU Member States working in Austria, as it also applies to citizens of the Slovak Republic. Heger also explained that both countries are economically and professionally connected and can solve their problems thanks to open communication.

Nehammer also praised the cooperation between the two states and stressed that Slovakia is an important partner for the Austrian economy. Around 2,000 Austrian companies are active in Slovakia, which also secures jobs in Austria. In addition, exports had risen again to a volume of 3.2 billion euros. Austria was the second largest investor in Slovakia, the Federal Chancellor emphasised.

Federal Chancellery of Austria