Komorowski and Fischer to meet one year after ash cloud controversy

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski will visit Austria later this month.

The office of Austrian President Heinz Fischer announced today (Fri) that the former Polish minister of defence will arrive for talks in Vienna on 13 July. The presidential office explained Komorowski was also set to meet Social Democratic (SPÖ) Chancellor Werner Faymann, and the SPÖ’s Barbara Prammer who is the incumbent president of the federal parliament in Vienna.

A spokesman for Fischer revealed that the Polish president and his Austrian counterpart planned to attend the former Nazi concentration camp in Mauthausen, Upper Austria, before Komorowski returns to Warsaw on 14 July.

Fischer said he was pleased that the Polish president would come to Austria just days after Poland took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) from Hungary.

The state visit will occur around one year after Komorowski’s predecessor Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash. Fischer was widely criticised for failing to attend the politician’s funeral procession in April 2010. The Austrian president decided not to travel to Krakow due to the volcanic ash cloud that covered vast parts of Europe in spring and summer of last year. The Austrian president argued going there by car was “not an option” either since work regulations kept his chauffeur from driving 13 hours without interruption.

Newspapers and some politicians hinted Fischer opted to stay in Austria to keep on the campaign trail since his bid to be re-elected for a second six-year term as president of the Republic of Austria was nearing. Fischer celebrated a landslide victory on 25 April 2010. He garnered nearly 80 per cent of the overall vote. His win was overshadowed by studies showing that one in two Austrians eligible to vote stayed away from the polling booths.