Wien, 2. October 2006 Press release

Kyrle: "Important step in the renewed rapprochement between the European project and its citizens"

02.10.2006

Opening of European Commission EU Info Point in Austria

Vienna, 2 October 2006 – "The EU's new information centre here in Vienna is an important contribution to creating an atmosphere of European publicity which allows the citizen to participate actively in the European decision-making process," said Secretary General for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Johannes Kyrle at today's opening of the EU Info Point on Vienna's Ringstraße. The establishment of the Info Point is part of "Plan D" initiated by the European Commission in the interests of democracy, dialogue and debate, which is designed to encourage citizens to give continuous feedback on the debate on the future of Europe. The main task of the EU Info Point is to listen to citizens, explain the EU and its institutions and inform people about the EU's influence on everyday life.

"During Austria's Presidency in particular many citizens gained a deeper insight into the EU's work and recognised the EU's significance and positive prospects for the first time," said Kyrle, who recalled that the Austrian Presidency had started its work with the aim of creating more impetus, more confidence and more clarity for Europe. In her summary of Austria's EU Presidency, Foreign Minister Plassnik had pointed out that this aim had been achieved and that the "Europe is listening" initiative was an important stimulus for finding new ways of establishing contact with the citizen. "Confidence-building must be a political issue that we work on constantly," said Plassnik at the time.

Kyrle pointed out that studies show that more information was directly accompanied by greater support for EU accession. "The importance of the information provided by the new EU Info Point and the readiness to make time for talks on the questions and concerns of the citizens cannot be underestimated. These are small but important steps in the bigger process of renewed rapprochement between the European project and its citizens," concluded Kyrle.

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