Wien, 26. November 2012 Press release

Lopatka: Austria and France in favour of European Alpine Strategy

State Secretary Lopatka discussed current issues of European policy with Minister of European Affairs Cazeneuve and Minister of Development Cooperation Canfin in Paris on 23 November

Vienna, 24 November 2012 – "My meetings in Paris touched upon current European topics, such as the multi-annual financial framework and the introduction of a financial transaction tax. Austria and France share the objective of introducing the latter as soon as possible", State Secretary Lopatka said. "While the heads of state and government were striving to find a solution to the next EU budget 2014-2020 in this first round of negotiations in Brussels, my trip to Paris offered an important opportunity to discuss the most important positions of Austria and France in detail", Lopatka said referring to the multi-annual financial framework.

In terms of the Alpine region, Austria and France pursue shared interests: "Both France and Austria support a more intensified cooperation in the Alpine region. We would also be in favour of the EU developing a dedicated strategy for this specific area", the State Secretary said. Minister Cazeneuve is planning a visit to Vienna in February 2013 to elaborate further on this project.

Other central issues of the meetings were the expansion of the EU and the situation in the states of the Western Balkans. "We discussed how we could strengthen the accession perspective of these states. It is an absolute priority for Austria that the next steps be taken and negotiations with Macedonia be finally initiated. A decisive discussion on this matter will be held at the upcoming General Affairs Council in December", the State Secretary said.

Pascal Canfin, the French Minister for Development Cooperation and State Secretary Lopatka expressed their great common interest in the promotion of renewable energy in the framework of development cooperation. "We are proud that the programme and implementation office for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), an initiative of the UN Secretary General, will be set up in Vienna. This step follows on from the long-term and internationally acknowledged commitment of Austria in the field of sustainable energy. France is greatly interested in Austrian examples", Lopatka said. Another topic on the agenda of the meeting was the further development of cooperation in the field of European development cooperation.

On the occasion of his visit to Paris, State Secretary Lopatka presented Austria's first gift of art to the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. "Art for Peace" is a book of photographic art by renowned Austrian photographer Lois Lammerhuber. It shows the impressive art collection of the UNESCO in Paris that includes a large number of invaluable pieces of art from all over the world. With "Art for Peace", which will also be available electronically on the internet, Austria would like to make this remarkable collection and the peace message it conveys available and accessible to the general public", Lopatka said on the occasion of a festive ceremony where the first copy of the splendid tome was presented to UNESCO.

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