Wien, 1. July 2004 Press release

Ferrero-Waldner receives Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda in Vienna

01.07.2004

Close regional cooperation indispensable for the implementation joint regional agendas

Vienna, 1 July 2004 - At the invitation of Benita Ferrero-Waldner the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Cyril Svoboda, visited Vienna today for a working discussion with his Austrian counterpart. The agenda of the foreign ministers’ talks focused mainly on European integration, bilateral issues and cooperation within the Regional Partnership.

Ferrero-Waldner again congratulated Svoboda on the Czech Republic’s full membership in the European Union, effected on 1 May. In this connection the Foreign Minister stressed the importance of close regional cooperation, whose effectiveness had been proven only recently at the intergovernmental conference in Brussels: "What remains for our two countries from the negotiations on the European constitution is the experience of a very constructive cooperation, which was so successful only because we joined forces with other partners and clearly stated our demands".

Ferrero-Waldner furthermore emphasised the importance of close cooperation under the Regional Partnership concept, stating that "at the political level the focus of our cooperation has recently been on the neighbouring Western Balkans region, to which all our partners attribute the utmost importance. Our jointly elaborated paper on Kosovo will be dealt with shortly at the General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels".

The Austrian Foreign Minister also welcomed the positive development of the two countries’ bilateral economic relations: "The Czech Republic ranks fifth among the source countries of Austrian imports and Austria is the third largest foreign investor in the Czech Republic. I am convinced that the Czech Republic’s accession to the European Union will further improve the already very conducive environment for our bilateral economic relations. This will hold particularly true for the numerous small and medium-sized enterprises based in Lower and Upper Austria which have already set up production sites and manufacturing facilities in the Czech Republic", Ferrero-Waldner continued.

Another item raised by the Austrian Foreign Minister in today’s working discussion with her Czech counterpart was the issue of the Temelin nuclear power plant. In this context Ferrero-Waldner pointed out that she was counting on the Czech Republic’s meticulous compliance with the relevant process. For his part, Foreign Minister Svoboda promised to put into practice what had been stipulated in the Brussels agreements.