Spindelegger: ”At your service – our ministry’s staff have provided help and crisis management in worldwide deployment throughout 2011“
Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger presents the Austrian Foreign Policy Yearbook 2011
Vienna, 3 July 2012 – “The Austrian Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs was again in full deployment helping people worldwide in 2011”, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said at the presentation of the Foreign Policy Yearbook 2011. “The upheavals in the Arab world, the disastrous earthquake and tidal wave followed by nuclear disaster in Japan put the crisis management skills of the Austrian Foreign Ministry to a tough test. Swift, efficient help was the only way to support thousands of citizens and to prevent the Austrians affected from suffering even greater loss and damage”, Spindelegger continued. “The efficient and professional crisis management is proof of the high expertise, skills and commitment of our ministry staff and results from the Foreign Ministry’s consistent efforts to ensure optimum consular assistance. The new app for service abroad, that was launched in 2001, offers valuable information before and during a stay abroad and is a reliable companion on travels“, Spindelegger said.
“Another focal area of the Ministry’s work in 2011 was the management of the economic and financial crisis in Europe. We succeeded in both creating the necessary crisis management tools and pushing initiatives that facilitate sustainable growth and promote employment.”
“I am convinced that Europe will only be able to succeed in the long run if it has the full backing of all of us. And therefore I am even more pleased that the “EU Local Council Initiative”, which I launched, is proving so successful. More than 450 municipal council members from all the Austrian provinces and political parties serve as the first contact for citizens in their communities who have questions about EU issues”, Spindelegger explained.
“The imminent expansion of the EU with the accession of Croatia and the candidate status of Serbia demonstrate that Austria is increasingly seen as the driving force of EU expansion in the Western Balkans”, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Spindelegger continued. “The Danube area and the neighbouring Black Sea region are not only focal areas of Austrian foreign and neighbourhood policy but Austria’s role in the Danube region strategy has also gained importance, not least within the EU.”
“Austria was appointed to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations and to the Executive Council of UNESCO in 2011. Both appointments are visible signs of the high appreciation and recognition that the international community of states has for Austria’s committed involvement in international organisations”, the Foreign Minister said and declared: “We contribute our decades of experience in protecting human rights to the work of the UN Human Rights Council, where the focus of our efforts is on protecting the freedom of religion and conscience and religious minorities, on promoting the freedom of the media and the protection of journalists, the protection of children’s rights and of children from violence and exploitation.”
“The role of Vienna as a hub and platform for peace and dialogue was strengthened in 2011. The Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, a branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, and the International King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue underline the appreciation of the international community of states for Austria”, the Foreign Minister said and continued: “The promotion of dialogue between cultures is a vital part of Austria’s foreign policy.”
“Development cooperation and the fight against poverty require a holistic political approach. In 2011, it was again very important to us to promote sustainable development in particular. Austria has valuable and sought-after know-how in renewable energies and energy efficiency, which was one of the reasons why our involvement in this area increased. Austria responded quickly to the famine disaster in East Africa and provided a total of 8.5 million euros of emergency relief funds.”
“I would like to thank State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner who joined the team of the Foreign Ministry in April 2011. In addition to a tight agenda of bilateral and international meetings, he is also responsible for development assistance. I would also like to thank Secretary General Johannes Kyrle and all my colleagues at the Foreign Ministry for ceaselessly putting their energies at the service of our country and the Austrian people. They have earned my deep gratitude“, Spindelegger concluded.
The Foreign Policy Yearbook 2011 is available in electronic form from the website of the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs (www.bmeia.gv.at) and can also be ordered free of charge as a hard copy from the Ministry (Department VI.8, Minoritenplatz 8, A-1014 Vienna; abtvi8(at)bmeia.gv.at; phone: +43 (0) 50 11 50-3321).
Federal Ministry for
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