Wien, 19. June 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: “South Tyrol is and will stay a constant factor in Austrian foreign policy”

20th anniversary of settlement of dispute

Vienna, 19 June 2012 – “The settlement of the dispute about South Tyrol at the United Nations 20 years ago was no matter of course and of great importance in many respects”, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Austrian Government presenting to the United Nations the declaration ending the dispute that had lasted for many years. “Much persuasion and diplomacy was called for in 1960 – only five years after Austria’s joining the United Nations – to obtain the necessary support from the UN member states and to put the protection of the Austrian minority in South Tyrol on the agenda of the United Nations”, Spindelegger continued. Thirty years later, on 19 June 1992, persistent negotiations about the autonomy pact and the implementation of its 137 clauses finally brought about the end of the dispute.

The Foreign Minister stressed how important it is to continue the current autonomy policy. The autonomy of South Tyrol and its practical implementation have entailed impressive economic and social development, social peace, flourishing medium-sized companies with local roots, as well as full employment. And all three language groups benefit equally from these positive developments. “The autonomy package and the settlement of the dispute are a unique success for Austria, but above all for the people of South Tyrol. Today, South Tyrol is a role model for overcoming frontiers in a unified Europe. I am positive that the current successful autonomy policy will be continued, and I am convinced that there is a direct correlation between the positive development of South Tyrol and the close and friendly relationships existing between Austria and Italy.”

Austria attaches great importance to furthering the autonomous status of South Tyrol and to make sure that the border is felt as little as possible. In addition to regular meetings, the creation of the Euroregion Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino is another step towards bundling the interests and resources and towards implementing important joint projects, such as in transport for example. “South Tyrol is a constant factor in Austria’s foreign policy and an important part of our foreign policy identity. There is consensus in this matter in the Austrian Parliament”, Spindelegger concluded.

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