The focus of the annual meeting is traditionally on regional cooperation and regional issues, however, this year’s meeting was dominated by the fight against COVID-19.
The 7th trilateral meeting between the Austrian, Croatian and Slovenian presidents, was held in Vienna on Wednesday. The focus of discussion was on the effects of the coronavirus on Europe. Croatian President Zoran Milanović, Austrian President Aleksander Van der Bellen and Slovenian President Borut Pahor all agreed that it was necessary to keep borders open and maintain economic activity.
President Milanović called on Austrians to vacation in Croatia, saying that there was no safer place to be. He noted that the much bigger problem facing the globe is climate change: "The coronavirus will come and go, but the global problem of climate change, which if we don't act in unison could seriously hurt Croatia as a country that relies heavily on tourism. The problem is so serious that we should never, not for a second, stop thinking about it and acting, as much as possible, to avert it."
For his part Austrian President Aleksander Van der Bellen emphasized the need to work together: "For us here in Austria, it is important to see what the situation is like in Croatia and Slovenia, how those countries are handling this crisis. Because, if our neighbor is doing well, then that is better for us here in Austria. We have the same interests in tourism and the economy. All three countries rely heavily on tourism, and while we have different problems, we are all interested in ensuring that people can travel and that borders are as open as possible."
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