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Slovak government backs Slovakia-Poland joint 2022 bid

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico arrives at the European Union (EU) council headquarters for an EU leaders summit discussing the EU's l
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico arrives at the European Union (EU) council headquarters for an EU leaders summit discussing the EU's l

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Slovakia's government has officially backed a joint bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics with neighbors Poland, Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Wednesday.

Slovak officials will meet with Polish partners by the end of the month to discuss details.

The two European countries share a border straddled by the High Tatras mountains, a favorite winter holiday destination for locals and tourists from Russia, Ukraine and Hungary.

Germany's Munich, beaten by South Korea's Pyeongchang for the 2018 Winter Olympics, is also considering a bid for the 2022 Games while a planned Swiss candidacy of Davos and St Moritz was rejected by local citizens.

"There will be a joint meeting of Slovak and Polish ministers and prime ministers in (the Slovak town of) Poprad. A joint bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics will be one of the topics," Fico told reporters after a government meeting.

Poprad unsuccessfully bid for the 2002 and 2006 Winter Games.

Poland's Sports Ministry said in January it would back a proposal to co-host the Winter Olympics, centered around the city of Krakow, and the government would soon discuss providing the necessary guarantees for the bid.

Poland successfully co-hosted last year's Euro soccer championship with Ukraine.

Slovaks are keen on hosting ice hockey and skiing events, with the total cost of hosting the 2022 Games estimated at up to $2 billion.

The financial burden would be split between the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which would be expected to provide some 40 percent of the funds, and the two countries with Poland providing the larger share.

The IOC has set November 2013 as the application deadline and the host city will be elected in July 2015.

(Reporting by Martin Santa)

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