Vienna, 21 May 2010 - "Austria and France are bound by a very close and friendly relationship, not least due to our long common history. Cooperation is excellent on all levels, both bilateral and international, like for example within the EU and the United Nations", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger after his meeting with the State Secretary for European Affairs in the French Foreign Ministry Pierre Lellouche.
Their talks focused on European issues, in particular the impact of the financial crisis on the development of the EU, and institutional issues such as the European Foreign Service and the rapprochement of the Western Balkans with Europe. The two of them also discussed the possibilities of closer cooperation between the countries of the Alps.
In connection with the Balkans, Spindelegger underlined his expectations in view of the upcoming EU-Western Balkans Conference in Sarajevo: "The current economic problems in Europe must not become an excuse for enlargement fatigue. The clear perspective of membership remains intact for the entire region. The EU must set a renewed and strong political signal in this respect. At the same time, the zeal for reform must not abate in the countries of this region".
Contact: Federal Ministry for European and international AffairsPress Department Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213 mailto:abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at