Waldner: “Germany and Austria are role models in the Eurozone“
Vienna, 19 April 2012 – State Secretary Waldner had a work meeting today with his colleague in the German Federal Foreign Office, Minister of State Michael Link.
“In our globally networked world, meetings take place on a regular basis at a European and multilateral level. Therefore, I personally consider it very important to actively promote bilateral relations, especially those with our neighbouring countries. Germany, being our largest neighbour, represents a particularly important and close partner, with whom we maintain excellent and trusting bilateral relations and a close coordination on all issues“, said Waldner, adding that “Today we discussed the most pressing EU issues, the economic measures aimed at combating the crisis and stimulating the economy, the future EU budget for 2014-2020, and the general political future of the European Union.“
On the sidelines of the meeting, the State Secretary stressed that “Germany and Austria are economic role models in Europe, and only a few countries can boast similar positive economic figures and low unemployment rates.“ Waldner considers the latest confirmation of Austria’s “triple A“ rating with a stable outlook by rating agency Fitch as a proof that the country is on the right track. Apart from austerity, growth-promoting measures are required for a positive economic development. “Following the ‘acute measures‘ introduced to overcome the crisis, such as aid packages and the fiscal pact, the EU must now focus on forward-looking measures and growth stimulation. We place a particular emphasis on the promotion of small and medium-size enterprises“, said the State Secretary.
The meeting also addressed the future EU budget for the period 2014-2020, which is currently being negotiated among the EU Member States. “For net contributors like Germany and Austria, the EU budget is a particularly important topic. In times of austerity budgets, we must work together towards a moderate EU budget, and this is why we seek a substantial reduction of the original proposal submitted by the European Commission. We agree with Germany on this point. At the same time, we must make sure that future programs to safeguard the role of the EU as a place for doing business are financed accordingly“, explained Waldner.
On the issue of the future of the EU, the State Secretary reiterated Austria’s invitation to the next meeting of Foreign Ministers, organized by the Initiative for the Future of Europe on the subject of “More Democracy in the EU“ in Vienna on May 15. “The economic crisis has clearly shown that we need ‘more‘ Europe to better prepare the Union for future challenges and enable it to survive in the global competition“, said the State Secretary.
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