Vienna, 10 November 2005 - "The Balkan states have made considerable progress in recent years through their policy of gradual rapprochement with the European Union", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik before the Parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee.
"The process of rapprochement with Europe should make it possible for us to work out difficult unresolved questions such as the future status of Kosovo and the State Union of Serbia-Montenegro in an amicable fashion", said Plassnik.
Peace, democracy, rule of law, good neighbourliness and economic growth were the cornerstones for systematic reforms in the Balkan states in their rapprochement with European standards, said Plassnik. Beyond the stabilisation process, the development and intensification of a positive dynamism are vital. The prospect of accession is the indispensable driving force behind the remarkable willingness of these countries to carry out reforms.
"Austria has already been able to provide assistance and support our new EU partners on their way to the European Union. What we want to do now is to pass on this valuable experience together with our regional partners to our neighbours in South-Eastern Europe", continued Plassnik. "Austria is interested in concrete practical progress. We are particularly active in the field of security, the development of the rule of law and stricter environmental standards."
"Our commitment in South-Eastern Europe will not only bring Austria additional stabilisation and security, but will also provide new opportunities for our economy," concluded the Foreign Minister.
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