Wien, 17. October 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "South Tyrol – A perfect example for overcoming division in an integrating Europe"

17.10.2007

Foreign Minister meets representatives of North and South Tyrol for talks in Vienna

Vienna, 17 October 2007 - "South Tyrol remains a constant of Austrian foreign policy. Regular consultations like the ones we had today are important for sharpening our focus and learning first hand whether our partners may have problems, and if so, which", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today during the South Tyrol consultations she held in Vienna with representatives of North and South Tyrol, including the Provincial Governors Herwig van Staa and Luis Durnwalder, and the Secretary General of South Tyrol’s People’s Party, Elmar Pichler-Rolle.

"South Tyrol is a perfect example of overcoming divisions in a united and integrated Europe", stressed the Foreign Minister", adding that "Together, we can be extremely proud of this. Austria will continue to support South Tyrol on its successful course in the future, as a friend and a partner."

Asked about the mutual recognition of academic titles, Plassnik said: "We are on the right track on this issue as well. We are solving the problem in a close and trusting cooperation." The Minister pointed out to the fact that, during its last meeting, the Austrian-Italian expert commission adopted the mutual recognition of 20 bachelor studies.

According to Plassnik, the thematic issues of the talks included cooperation on environmental matters and the Brenner Base Tunnel. "The Brenner Base Tunnel is a central element in our strategy of cooperating with Italy to significantly reduce environmental pollution caused by transit traffic. We appreciate the good cooperation with our neighbours and expect a swift implementation of the project." With regard to the pardoning of former South Tyrol activists, the Minister referred to the ongoing efforts of Austria: "We are engaging on all levels to find a final and comprehensive solution to this painful chapter of the 1960s, like, for instance, during the state visit by President Giorgio Napolitano in Vienna in late June."

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