Press Advisories

16. 1. 202017:52

PM Andrej Babiš talks with Federal Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz about transport infrastructure development

At the invitation of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited the Czech Republic on Thursday, 16 January 2020. The visit to the Czech Republic is the chancellor's first foreign visit since being appointed to office. The two politicians primarily spoke at Kramář Villa about the transport infrastructure, the energy sector and the EU agenda, and praised the very good relations between the two countries.

"I very much appreciate the fact that his first foreign trip after his recent appointment as federal chancellor was to come here to the Czech Republic. It is a clear affirmation of Czech-Austrian friendship and our excellent relations, and proof that Austria is a close partner of our region," the Czech PM stated.

A central topic of the talks was the construction of cross-border transport links, in particular the motorways from Brno to Vienna and from Prague to Linz. In 2019 the section of the D3 motorway on the Czech side between Tábor and České Budějovice was completed, and construction began on the bypass around České Budějovice, which should be completed in the summer of 2022.

"In the past we kind of forgot to build these motorways, and now we are attempting to catch up. We declare clearly that we want to be at the Austrian border with the Prague-Linz motorway in 2024. In terms of the Brno-Vienna route, it's a bit more complicated. Unfortunately, our predecessors unthinkingly chose a route around Mikulov rather than the route via Břeclav. We could already have been done," noted PM Babiš. A Czech delegation led by Transport Minister Vladimír Kremlík will negotiate on further steps in Vienna.

The two heads of government picked up on the previous discussion as part of talks with the V4 PMs addressing primarily EU issues. Together they agreed on a stance towards migration and ongoing support for European integration of the Western Balkans.

Austria is an important economic partner of the Czech Republic. Trade between them reached EUR 12.3 billion in 2018. The Czech Republic is one of the five biggest exporters into Austria, while Austria is among the leading investors in the Czech Republic. Differences of opinion between the two countries prevail in the use and further expansion of nuclear energy. "Even at the last European Council I said clearly that without nuclear energy we are not capable of achieving carbon neutrality. We certainly will continue to assure our Austrian colleagues that nuclear energy is safe, that our power plants are safe," said PM Babiš, pointing out that Austria is an important consumer of Czech electricity.

It was today that the Czech version of the Joint Czech-Austrian Book on History, on which a team of historians from both countries worked, was published. This is a unique project that aims to contribute to mutual knowledge and understanding through reflections on the history of the Czech Republic and Austria in the 19th and 20th centuries.

PM Andrej Babiš last visited Austria in the autumn of 2019, when he attended a concert of the Czech Philharmonic to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain and met with the Austrian chancellor of the time, Brigitte Bierlein.