Wien, 10. August 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Improved service and information for Austrians around the world"

10.08.2007

Companion for Austrians living abroad now online

Vienna, 10 August 2007 - "By publishing a companion for expatriate Austrians, we are further improving the services offered to the many Austrians who live and work abroad. They are the frontrunners for an outward-looking Austria, and it is a personal concern of mine that the Foreign Ministry and its outposts around the world assist them with moral and practical support wherever they are”, said Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik.

Information on 30 topics of relevance to the approximately 350,000 expatriate Austrians around the world is available at www.aoe-ratgeber.at and includes links related to important issues such as passports, driving licences, elections and other citizenship matters, pensions and social affairs. Tips are also offered on moving abroad or back to Austria, voluntary registration for Austrians living abroad, and getting the latest news and programmes transmitted by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF).

"Those living abroad are faced with lots of new questions and bureaucratic red tape, particularly at the beginning. The new Internet companion thus satisfies a dual need: it makes it easier for our compatriots around the world to access information on Austria and also to remain in touch with their home country. As part of this effort, we provide specific information on voting from abroad. The new regulations for voting in parliamentary elections have made it easier for Austrians abroad to vote, and we want them to take advantage of this right”, the Foreign Minister said, referring to the electoral-law amendment adopted in June 2007. It introduced postal voting, a measure that representatives of expatriate Austrians had long demanded.

"Austria is a leader within the EU in the field of e-government, the access to government agencies via the Internet. This makes things much easier for Austrians living abroad. With our new Internet companion we want to further strengthen Austria’s pioneering position in this field”, Plassnik said in conclusion.

Contact:
Foreign Ministry
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213
abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at