Vienna, October 15th 2009 - "During our last joint government session, we were just days away from Hungary's accession to the Schengen Agreement, and today we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain - both events show the enormous development that Hungarian-Austrian relations underwent in recent years. Today, we are bound by a mature and proven neighbourhood in partnership", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger today on the occasion of the third joint government session between Hungary and Austria in Eisenstadt.
During their meeting in Eisenstadt, Foreign Minister Spindelegger and his Hungarian colleague Péter Balázs discussed in particular further possibilities of deepening their cooperation within the European Union. They focused on the preparation of the EU Presidency, which Hungary will take over in the first half year of 2011. "In a Union of 27 members, regional cooperations are becoming increasingly important. Especially small states like Austria and Hungary must bundle their forces to enforce their interests in the best possible way. Our joint efforts in support of the Balkans, the excellent consular cooperation, and cooperation within the Regional Partnership are successful examples of this. Of course, Hungary can also rely on our support in its preparation for its first EU Council Presidency", said Spindelegger.
The Foreign Minister emphasized the great Austrian interest in the „European Strategy for the Danube Region" to be implemented by 2011: "We will work together to ensure that the EU Danube strategy becomes a success project for the Hungarian EU Presidency. As core countries of the Danube Region, we want to seize this opportunity in the best possible way to exploit the future potential of the entire region."
Hungary and Austria underscored their determination to remain strong advocates of the European integration of the Western Balkan states. "Both the quick accession of Croatia to the EU, and the European perspective for the other countries of the Balkans are in the vital interest of our two countries", said Spindelegger, who also suggested that increased activities for the Western Balkan states should be initiated again as part of the Regional Partnership between Hungary, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Slovenia. "More needs to be done especially for the young people of these countries, who will have a decisive influence on the future of this region, e.g. by establishing a scholarship fund for the Western Balkans", so the minister.
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