Vienna, 27 October 2005 - "Our young EU partner Lithuania brings great regional expertise to our work in the EU. We will count on her support during Austria’s Presidency", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on the occasion of her talks with her counterpart Antanas Valionis, which focused on topical European issues and questions of neighbourhood policy.
"As a result of the enlargement the EU has gained new neighbours with whom special relations are being established in order to build a ring of stability around the EU", declared the Foreign Minister. In particular, the two Foreign Ministers discussed the relations between the European Union and Russia, which - according to Plassnik - "offer scope for additional momentum", as well as the relations with Ukraine and Belarus.
The Foreign Ministers agreed that the focus of Austria’s Presidency on the neighbouring Balkans was of special significance, since "security, development and stability in South-Eastern Europe are the concrete outcome of the peace project Europe in our generation", said Plassnik.
Prior to and during her Presidency, Austria would invite the Balkan countries to a number of specialised ministerial conferences in the EU format. A separate Balkans Conference with the Balkan states would take place on the occasion of the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Salzburg in March. "It will be specifically devoted to the European prospects of the whole region", concluded the Foreign Minister.
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