The Regional Partnership
In the framework of the Regional Partnership - founded in 2001 between Austria and her neighbouring countries Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia as well as the “cultural neighbour” Poland - the 13th meeting of heads of Parliaments took place in Bratislava on 19-20 May 2011. Austria was represented by Ms. Susanne Neuwirth, then President of the Austrian Federal Council. Also Bulgaria, Romania , Croatia and Montenegro were invited to the meeting which focussed on the development of infrastructure and tourism in the region.
In the field of internal security a very close and fruitful cooperation has emerged in the framework of the "Salzburg Forum" of Ministers of the Interior, which was founded around the same time as the Regional Partnership. Its member states are the six RP-countries, Bulgaria and Romania. Croatia has observer status. In the first half of 2011 Austria chaired the "Salzburg Forum" and organized in April an experts' meeting on witness protection. The results were discussed at the “Salzburg Forum”- Ministerial Conference held in Kitzbühel / Tyrol (28-29 June 2011). During the following Bulgarian chairmanship consultations on the draft of an “Agreement on the Cooperation in the Area of Witness Protection” took place. At the “Salzburg Forum”- Ministerial Conference in Bulgaria (15-16 November) the ministers agreed to start formal negotiations on this agreement in the first half of 2012 during the Czech Presidency.
Another core element of the Regional Partnership is the cooperation promoting a common external cultural policy. The "Platform Culture-Central Europe" has developed numerous projects showing present-day cultural achievements in partner countries.