Wien, 26. October 2008 Press release

Plassnik: "The Foreign Ministry - a proven competence and networking centre"

Open Day at the Ministry for European and International Affairs with Ludwig Steiner in the 'Living History' series

Vienna, 26 October 2008 - "The Foreign Ministry has proved itself as an International and European competence and networking centre for Austria. We guarantee that Austria is and remains a predictable and reliable partner within the European Union and the world community as a whole. Following our EU Presidency in 2006, we have now been entrusted to perform another leadership task with a seat in the UN Security Council," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today. "We shall work on this task with the necessary seriousness and care," continued the Minister.

The Open Day at the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs has been a tradition for some time. This year, the focus was on the partnership with the United Nations as well as on providing information on the EU. Another item on the programme was an event in the 'Living History' series with former State Secretary and Ambassador Dr. Ludwig Steiner, whom Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik described as "one of the great figures of the Second Republic. He co-shaped political life in Austria over decades".

Steiner was a member of the resistance against the Nazi regime. As secretary of Federal Chancellor Julius Raab, the Tyrolean was a member of the delegation that negotiated Austria’s State Treaty in Moscow in 1955. Subsequently, he worked as a State Secretary and occupied the highest positions in the diplomatic service. Afterwards he became a Member of Parliament for the Austrian People’s Party.

"Steiner never allowed himself to be discouraged, no matter how precarious his missions were. He stands for integrity and commitment, and is held in highest regard both in Austria and abroad. This became particularly obvious in his work for the Reconciliation Fund. He also represented Austria in the Council of Europe for many years. Steiner was among the MPs who put forward the motion for our accession to the EU. Innsbruck-born Steiner has always kept his feet firmly on the ground, while simultaneously having the ability to look beyond mountains and across borders," concluded Plassnik.

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