Plassnik: "Increasing demand for Europe in the world"
Europe’s added value becomes visible through multifaceted foreign missions
Vienna, 13 December 2005 - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik met for talks today with the Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana.
The talks previewed Austria’s EU Presidency and the likely priorities of the European Foreign and Security Policy in the first half of 2006, including south-eastern Europe and the Middle East.
"Much progress has been made in the field of the Common Foreign and Security Policy in recent years. The various crisis management activities have clearly increased the visibility and credibility of European foreign policy," said the Foreign Minister.
"In the first six months of 2006 important decisions will be made, in particular in the Middle East, where the Palestinian and Israeli parliamentary elections will take place, and in the Balkans, where we will be dealing with the status of Kosovo and the future of the State Union of Serbia-Montenegro," continued Plassnik.
"In the Balkans the EU is working successfully with its European and transatlantic partners on the stabilisation of the region. The EU is quite willing to assume a leading role in this process, as the future of the region lies in Europe. This also applies to Kosovo, where the EU will take on more responsibility. Kosovo in its turn will have to work harder on the implementation of European standards," said the Foreign Minister.
"The EU will also make its contribution to the Middle East peace process in the next six months with a view to achieving further substantive results following Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip and the opening of the border crossing at Rafah. The aim must be to strengthen confidence on both sides in the political process again. Here the EU will continue its efforts," concluded Plassnik.