New York, 20 September 2006 – "They are a living link between countries and continents, and the pioneers of a cosmopolitan Austria," asserted Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik at a reception held at Austria's General Consulate in New York for Austrians living abroad.
Plassnik focused on the practical challenges often faced by Austrian expatriates. "We are constantly working on improving the framework of conditions to which Austrians living abroad are exposed. An optimal service by Austrian missions is therefore one of the main concerns of the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs," said Plassnik. In addition to consular work, the Foreign Minister referred to two legal initiatives of the last legislative period that had brought concrete improvements: the amendment to the Act on Austrian Citizenship, which has resulted in simplified procedures for Austrian expatriates, and the recent amendment to the Austrian Expatriate Fund Act, which has noticeably increased the number of persons eligible for support.
Referring to the forthcoming parliamentary elections, Plassnik reaffirmed that she would continue to support efforts aimed at simplifying electoral voting procedures for Austrians abroad. "Our goal is to make voting still easier for Austrians living abroad. As Foreign Minister, it is of personal concern to me that the voice of all Austrians living abroad should be heard in Austrian politics. In doing so, we will also examine the possibility of e-voting. After all, Austria is the European Champion of e-government," concluded the Foreign Minister.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
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