Wien, 30. November 2005 Press release

Plassnik: “Tackling European challenges together“

30.11.2005

Foreign Minister Plassnik meets with Danish counterpart Per Stig Møller

Vienna, 30 December 2005 - Today, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik met with the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller for talks.

The talks focused on topical European themes such as the Financial Perspective, EU enlargement and the debate about the future of Europe. Foreign Minister Plassnik also informed her counterpart about the preparations for Austria’s EU Presidency.

"We maintain excellent friendly relations with Denmark. There is an intensive exchange between our countries in the economic and cultural fields," said the Foreign Minister. According to Plassnik the Austrian Embassy in Copenhagen offers particular support for projects in the fields of contemporary music, the arts and the contemporary Austrian film.

"Denmark had a very successful EU Presidency in 2002, taking a solution-oriented and pragmatic approach. For instance, the difficult accession negotiations with the ten countries of eastern and southern Europe were completed, the liberalisation of the energy markets was agreed upon and an agreement on the labelling of genetically modified food was reached under the Danish Presidency," continued the Foreign Minister.

"I regard the safeguarding and further development of the European life model as one of our main tasks during our Presidency. This model makes Europe unique in the way that it emphasises justice, solidarity and respect for diversity. At the same time it is exposed to increasing pressure in a globalised market. It is therefore the objective of our Presidency to safeguard the survival of this unique life model," said the Foreign Minister.

"The Financial Perspective is a topical challenge. Time has come for a solution that is accepted by all Member States. A timely agreement is required, as it will otherwise be impossible for the thematic proposals to pass the European legislation process and for the Member States to plan their national implementation in time; the new Member States would be particularly affected," added the Foreign Minister.

The Foreign Ministers also discussed the current situation in the Middle East: "The opening of the Palestinian-Egyptian border crossing in Rafah is an example of the trust in the European Union as a political partner. Through its commitment, the European Union proves that it is prepared to assume responsibility in a visible manner. At the same time it shows that the demand for Europe is increasing worldwide," concluded Plassnik.