Laibach, 15. January 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "A common currency on both sides of the Karawanken mountain range"

15.01.2007

Foreign Minister welcomes Slovenia as 13th Member State of the Eurozone

Ljubljana, 15 January 2007 - "As a direct neighbour, Austria is particularly pleased to welcome Slovenia as the newest member of the Eurozone. Today’s celebrations are the logical consequence of the impressive and successful economic course pursued by our neighbouring country. But above all they confirm the impressive will of the people of Slovenia to carry out reforms," stated Foreign Minister Plassnik on the margins of the formal ceremony to mark the introduction of the euro to Slovenia.

"Europe is growing together, step by step. As of today, there is one common currency on both sides of the Karawanken mountain range. Austria and Slovenia have thus moved another little bit closer," continued Plassnik. The Foreign Minister also emphasised the positive effects on the already closely knit network between Austria and Slovenia: "The common currency is a further key to leveraging the potential of Central Europe as a region with excellent prospects for the future. The euro constitutes a further bond promoting economic, cultural and, last but not least, human exchange. The Austrians, too, and particularly the Carinthians, will benefit from this."

On this occasion, the Foreign Minister also had talks with her Slovenian counterpart Dimitrij Rupel which focused on both European policy themes and the bilingual place-name signs issue. "As a Carinthian and as a European, the debate surrounding the bilingual place-name signs is of special concern to me. Now the situation is favourable. The new federal government has made its determination on this issue clear beyond question. By the summer of 2007 we want to achieve a long-term solution based on an as broad as possible consensus of all ethnic groups. In these efforts, we shall build on the systematic preparations conducted by former Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel," concluded the Foreign Minister.

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